Creating a successor to a vehicle as iconic as the Toyota Supra was never going to be easy. It’s therefore rather fitting that the Japanese marque is taking its time in making the new sports car a reality.
During a recent interview with a Japanese publication, Toyota chief engineer Tetsuya Tada revealed that work on the model has been underway since early 2012, SupraMKV reports.
“I was in the middle of the 86 Press Launch in Spain when I received a call from Japan. It was Uchiyamada-san (VP of Toyota) asking/ordering me to go to Germany,” Tada-san said.
The engineer had previously been instrumental in the creation of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ and was a fitting choice to lead the development of the new-age Supra.
“Besides working with Subaru on the twins, I also have experience working with Daihatsu on the Passo,” Tada-san said of Toyota’s decision to choose him to develop the car. “So I guess I have experience negotiating with other companies.”
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Shortly afterwards, Toyota and BMW announced a partnership initially starting with diesel engines. From there, a relationship blossomed to include the development of a new Supra and BMW Z4. However, convincing the German marque of Toyota’s ambitions wasn’t so easy.
“The second time around I came up to them and said, “Let’s make a sports car that will blow Porsche away!”. BMW responded with “Hrm…..,” Tada-san revealed.
“I got the impression that the people at BMW believe that we have no understanding what it takes to build a car that can beat Porsche. The mindset is different. They were not into direct benchmarking or anything like that. They said, “If you like Porsche so much, why don’t you just buy one?”
Unlike the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins, the new Supra and Z4 will be radically different from each other and use different engines. Powering the Supra will be a naturally-aspirated inline six-cylinder engine from BMW that produces upwards of 450 hp without any hybrid tech or forced induction. By comparison, the BMW will be sold with a selection of four- and six-cylinder engines with grunt ranging between 195 hp and 380 hp.
Despite the new Supra setting out to be a true driver’s car, the automaker doesn’t intend on offering it with a six-speed manual transmission and will reportedly sell it exclusively with a dual-clutch ‘box.