Toyota Supra Engineer Says Model Needs To Evolve, Hints At Entry-Level And Performance Variant

Toyota unveiled the 2020 GR Supra at the North American International Auto Show earlier this year and it appears the company has big plans for the future.

In an interview with Top Gear, Supra chief engineer Tetsuya Tada said the “Supra needs to continue to evolve each year.” This likely means we can expect to see a handful of new variants in the future.

While Tada was coy on specifics, he suggested there will eventually be an entry-level model that uses a BMW-sourced four-cylinder engine. The BMW Z4 sDrive30i features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 255 hp (190 kW / 258 PS) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque, and it’s possible this engine could find its way into the Supra. If it does, we can expect the coupe to accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in approximately 5.2 seconds.

While the engine is significantly less powerful than the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six, which produces 335 hp (250 kW / 340 PS) and 365 lb-ft (494 Nm) of torque, Tada suggested the four-cylinder model could be around 220 lbs (110 kg) lighter.

Speaking of lighter models, Tada hinted at a performance variant with more power and a sportier suspension. He suggested the car could follow in the footsteps of the 86 GRMN which was introduced in 2015 with a carbon fiber hood, plexiglass windows and a large rear wing. The model was also had a retuned suspension, a 99 lbs (45 kg) weight reduction and an upgraded four-cylinder engine with 213 hp (159 kW / 216 PS) and 160 lb-ft (217 Nm) of torque.

In other news, Tada suggested a manual transmission remains a possibility and said a targa variant would be more likely than a convertible. Speaking of the latter, Tata said “I’ve looked at it” but noted some customers aren’t fans of targas because of roof storage issues.

Tata also hinted the interior could be updated in the future. While he didn’t go into details, the Supra borrows heavily from the BMW parts bin so Toyota might want to change that later down the road.

  • DMax

    Supra hate to commence in 3… 2…

    • Netsphere

      no need to hate, there are 2jz swaps incoming. life is good

      • Mr. EP9

        Wouldn’t be surprised if all GR Supras get a 2JZ swap.

        • Matt

          There’s not an infinite amount of 2JZ’s in existence. Plus most owners will realise after driving the straight-six model that there’s no point in swapping it for a decades-old motor.

          • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

            Did you really try one before?

          • Matt

            Have you driven a B58-powered car? I see you will buy a Mk5 – do you plan on stripping it down and replacing the engine? There’s no doubt the 2JZ is amazing but I think a lot of people are living in nostalgia and ignoring how good the B58 is. I know it’s similar to the sad day Alfa Romeo retired the Busso V6 and it was replaced with a GM V6 that didn’t sound anywhere as good. However had Alfa replaced it with their current awesome 2.9 V6 TT then I don’t think it would have been as bad.

            Point is, we know Toyota could never have used the old 2JZ in the new Supra. They *could* have built an all-new straight six, but there’s no guarantee it would be better than the closed-deck B58 (which by the way was thoroughly quality-tested by Toyota).

          • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

            to be honest, the last BMW I tried was the z8 !!! and it didn’t impressed me at all

            That said , I got your point, and I will postpone my final verdict until I try it

  • sidewaysspin

    Beaten with the ugly stick.

  • Chung

    manual transmission or nothing.

  • MarketAndChurch

    Looks pretty nice in white.

  • Mill0048

    I generally agree. Just keep a heritage trim as well. Or something that’s in the spirit of the originals. This goes for any manufacturer continuing a legendary nameplate.

    • Bash

      That is a great idea.

  • Bo Hanan

    Sadly- true.

  • Bash

    Let me say this ppl. Deep down I really think all this over-talking and the dislike that has a BMW engine in it. Personally I don’t see it as the core problem here, the problem is that The supra name has enough glory attached to it and its origins/roots. I hope ppl accepts that its a new supra and stop relating it or connecting it to the old one. that is the way to move forward. Hey Mclaren P1 has a BMW engine in it, and no body complains. Its because it was the first of its kind and there was no P1 before it.
    The absolute real sad thing here is that the supra (in the old days) had like 325HP?!
    and now, 30 years later or so this number has jumped up only to 335 or so. while the rivals from the same era (NZX and GTR had 270-290hp and now they are like in the range of 400-500 or more). this is my problem!

    • Mill0048

      I agree this will be a fantastic driving car and it won’t be a problem for most buyers, just the die-hard brand fans. Sports cars are passion purchases for the consumer and usually halo cars for the manufacturer. I imagine this is the Toyota brand’s current halo car. It’s a bit of a let down that they didn’t engineer an engine for it, even though it’s completely logical as to why. After the excellent performing, highly tune-able and reliable 2JZ, fans were hoping for a another great Toyota motor.

      Also, car-people buy from a brand/country the has built a certain character into their cars that resonates with their own values. Japanese cars are generally known for being light, not-overpowered, with clever engineering, and affordable replacement components. There are reliability concerns — legitimate or perceived — as generally, Toyota’s have known for their reliability and BMW’s less so.

      Plus it’s the internet. Everyone now has a voice, but the only way people feel heard is by drama or over-exaggerating things. Moderate discussion doesn’t command attention.

      PS: I’m fine with the moderate power creep, but that’s another story… lol

      • Bash

        Thank you!

    • Lucius

      A few critical points you’re missing about this car, and I’m stating them with all due respect:

      1) It has a powertrain and interior seemingly lifted from a mid-spec 2015 3 Series. And no one is upset at the pedigree of the BMW sourced drivetrain (as you imply), they’re upset that BMWs are unreliable (which they are per BMWs own warranty figures)…so why put their crap in a Toyota???

      2) If you showed just the powertrain details and specs to someone and said it was from a Buick crossover, there’d be no reason for them to doubt you…it’s that disappointing.

      3) All this unreliable mediocrity is gonna be in the $50k range…$10k more than other cars with similar or better performance.

      The only category of car buyers that will purchase one of these are the Supra fanboys…and there aren’t enough of those to keep it afloat. What they should have done is make a slightly larger equivalent to the 86, use the Camry V-6 (no development cost), the Tacoma’s 6 speed auto (little cost to recalibrate), offer a Tremec 6 speed manual (also very little calibration cost), conventional yet sporty suspension (no expensive adjustable BS), and go light on the superfluous luxury options. Had they done this they’d likely have a product in the mid $30k range…and it would be accessible (and appealing to) most enthusiasts…even those of middle-class means.

      • Bash

        Well, the bottom line is that Toyota didn’t do this the right way. and as i said before, this should not be seen with are compared wit the old Supra, these are two different cars that happens to share only the name , and for that reason Supra fanboys wont buy it. We don’t know, time will tell, sales numbers will tell eventually.

      • SteersUright

        You basically described what Nissan tried with the 370Z and they cant give those things away.

        • Mill0048

          …now. But in fairness, the Z sold around 157k units over the 15 or so years of the current platform (sad for a sports car). Half of that was the first 4 full years of production, then petered off as Nissan continued to neglect it.

          • SteersUright

            Yeah, the neglected state of the venerable Z-car is completely unacceptable. Nissan is not even remotely on my list of considerations any more as they’ve even begun to neglect their hottest car, the GTR, which is getting old quick.

          • Mill0048

            All that said, I still like the 370Z and wouldn’t mind picking one up used. I bet it would be a blast and totally worth $15k or so.

      • Matt

        The B58 straight six in the Mk5 Supra was thoroughly quality-tested by Toyota, they stress-tested every nut and bolt in their facilities in Japan to ensure it would be reliable. Plus don’t forget it also benefits from all the ‘lessons’ learnt by previous BMW sixes, and to endure it can take some tuning it has a strong closed-deck block.

        There’s no way any engineer would think it came from a Buick crossover, it’s a very advanced design that can produce much more power if needed.

        The car you’ve described (a parts-bin special of existing old Toyota components) sounds like it would be an antiquated dog. Seriously, the Tacoma’s 6-speed? Maybe in 2002… who’d buy that? A Mustang or Camaro would feel like a $100k car in comparison.

        • Lucius

          Had to mention the Tacoma 6-spd issue…it’s likely the only parts bin auto available for a longitudinal application. Do you even know how cars work????????
          Or do you just idolize brands in the same way a 10 year old idolizes comic book heroes??
          Seriously, which is it?
          And who’d buy the 6-spd auto? As a sports car, hopefully nobody…which is why you wouldn’t want to waste money developing a whole new transmission.

          • Matt

            A lot of people buy automatic sports cars. From Corvette to Mustang to even the Mk4 Supra! I never said the Tacoma wasn’t ‘suitable’ for the application from a compatability viewpoint, it was that it was only six speed and not that advanced. Compared to the competition’s slick newer 8 and 10 speed systems, it’s undergeared and clunky – certainly not befitting a ‘sports’ car.

            I mean the 8-speed ZF box is near flawless, or so the experts say.

            The Camry V6 is also an odd choice considering it has little tuning potential – isn’t that what Supra buyers want? As another commenter said, a big thirsty N/A V6 is out of the 370Z playbook and that thing is a dinosaur (despite it not being a bad car).

            My point was that your parts-bin special sounds like how Toyota May have gone about a Supra replacement in the early 2000’s. It’s 2019 now and buyers are more savvy than that. Those Supra ‘guys’ who loved them in the 90’s are older now, generally have more income and want something more sophisticated than their wife’s Camry.

          • Lucius

            First…truce! We’ve hurled insults, but you’ve got substance. I call truce…..

            The number of people who tune their cars is a slim slice of the market, it will not keep a model in production in and of itself. You need mass market appeal… without appeal to mainstreamers like me, there won’t be a Supra to tune at all. Had they returned to the original formula (parts bin, more practical), the sales velocity would support the adoption of the mega Supra you long for.

            I am also the very Supra guy you just described, and a car guy in general as are nearly all my friends. We have more money to spend these days, our kids are moving out…we buy sports cars as toys, not daily drivers. We want MANUALS!!!!!!!! That rage directed at manufacturers, not you.

            Manufacturers are going all automatic for economic savings and government economy standards. They sell this by saying “but the automatic is faster!” That’s to distract all the dumb herd animals from the fact that a manual is so much more fun and gives 99% the performance of the auto. But I’m not a dumb herd animal…I want a manual, many others do too.

      • Mill0048

        Realistically, looking at an engine specs alone is no barometer of a vehicle’s performance. It’s a whole package deal. I just searched for the Mustang V8 and Nismo Z, their prices start just under $50k and have similar performance figures. Mid $30k doesn’t get you very much RWD these days. Until more data comes out, I’m not sure this car is a bad deal just yet.

        Your alternate Supra idea is interesting and something manufacturers have tried before. It would be interesting to see how low they could get the cost by sharing more components. Then, I’d imagine everyone would complain they cheapened out or mailed it on on the legendary nameplate.

  • Kagan

    Start selling them for the same price in Europe as in us or we will boycott it!

  • Kagan

    There were even less in the 80s and 90s!

    • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

      I am from 80s drove MK3, got MK4 and I will get MK5 as soon as I can

  • ramish rambarran

    OK Tada. Easy, easy ! Get down on all fours. Now, just crawl to Yamaha,.

    • Mill0048

      I got excited for a moment day-dreaming of that possible collaboration!

  • Six_Tymes

    that nav screen on top of the dashboard, in a performance car, really? I can see maybe in an suv. its a bit distracting while DRIVING a performance car. Maybe I could hack it off with a saw.

    • Matt

      You want it positioned where you don’t have to take yours eyes off the road, it makes even more sense in a performance car mounting it in the driver’s line of sight. Imagine tackling a windy road and having to look down to check on infotainment/navigation. Now that’s dangerous.

  • TB


  • assassingtr

    hahaha I think most haters want it to sell poorly but I don’t think they’re (toyota) stupid. This car will sell very decently if not very well.

  • Andrew Ngo

    Wait till the engine starts to burn oil and leak….

  • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

    Can I dream of a 4 doors variant as the next generation Mark-X ?

    • Da Only Skid


      • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

        Actually , you are 100% right

    • Ali Ahadi AJ

      Pretty sure the next gen Mark-X will be on the TNGA-N platform. The new Crown is on the TNGA-N platform.

      • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

        So far as rumors go , it will share the parts of the waited Mazda FR sedan

  • SteersUright

    Cant say much until I see this in person. Sure, I wish it was a real Toyota like everyone else. But, BMW makes fun performance cars (M cars) so maybe there’s a bit of that distilled into this platform. The reliability thing is a real concern too. Older Supras are enjoyed for many years after warranty. Where would a DIY’er even get parts for this from, BMW or Toyota? As such, outside of a lease, these Supras will likely suffer BMW-esque epic levels of depreciation.

  • Matt

    You can hardly say that Toyota is discussing ‘fixes’ for this car (as if they think the car is bad). That’s just being dishonest. He said that they will plan on improving it every year, as is common with the Japanese ‘perfectionist’ culture. The improvement program would have been established right from the beginning, as they would have to allocate a budget to this model for yearly ‘improvements’.

    Look at the GT-R. Nissan always updates it with suspension, engine, styling tweaks to keep it competitive. Does that mean the original GT-R they first launched was bad? Hardly…

    You’re in ‘sales and marketing’ and ‘know how this works’? But you clearly don’t have a great understanding of how the car industry works, and your views on this being a ‘mea culpa’ are just speculation and assumption driven by your already negative bias against this car. There is no way a Toyota representative is going to publicly skewer their own product before launch, that is a terrible strategy.

    I’m not even a Toyota fan, I am more a European car man myself, but I had to comment as many of your comments are ridiculous and not based on fact.

    • Lucius

      Hey fanboy, you know what’s bad? Your reading comprehension skills. If you had any you’d know I didn’t slag on the car itself being ‘bad’ (except for the unreliable BMW drivetrain)…it’s the fact that it has limited appeal. And if YOU understood sales and marketing, you’d know that’s all that matters. YOUR OWN COMMENT PROVES ME RIGHT….

      “There is no way a Toyota representative is going to publicly skewer their own product before launch, that is a terrible strategy.” – This, fanboy, is why they do the mea culpa in the manner Tada has done it. Thanks for proving my completely accurate point!!!

      Lastly, as to my knowledge of the auto industry, I’m a 1997 graduate of GMI Engineering and Management (now known as Kettering University)…I recommend googling it if your self-esteem can handle learning about its affiliation with the auto industry. I had co-ops with Ford, GM, Cooper Tire, Walker Exhaust.

      Thanks for playing!

      • Matt

        I bow down to your superior intellect, experience and your impressive ability to refer to me as a ‘fanboy’ with no basis.

        Last I heard the Mk5 Supra has completely sold out in the UK and most of Europe for 2019. Talk about ‘limited appeal’!

        • Lucius

          Once again…reading comprehension!

          “After all those fanboys create an initial frenzy this thing is going to fall off a sales cliff.”

          You are wise to acknowledge my superiority.

          You are unwise to comment that that I made assertions about you without basis, when that is exactly what you did to me.

          • Matt

            “This thing is going to fall off a sales cliff”. Pure speculation. It isn’t a fact until it can be proven (in this case, once the car has been in the market for a couple of years).

            Speculative rhetoric is not enough to convince me you’re right about this car.

          • Lucius

            You are 110% correct …it is speculative, as are your assertions.

    • Da Only Skid

      As such has been speculated, here it goes. Europe had a limited amount of slots for the vehicle and most Europeans, speculating, are more keen to European vehicles. Sales will fall off the cliff though not in 1st or 2nd year, need those collectors and such.

      As for Tada’s remarks, it does honestly sound like “we are sorry we bailed on this vehicle.” It does come across as though they have heard the disgruntled voices of Supra fans. Also found it humorous that the inclusion of the 4-banger was in discussion but is already a JDM option if I’m not mistaken.

      Price could be a reason for the worldwide intro of the 2L. As much as I would like a “real” Supra there is no way I would part with $50k much less $30k without the Toyota reliability. Pretty sure a 95/6 was about $48k new, then again one could drive it until the wheel studs snapped without issue.

      Seems Toyota is falling prey to the disposable ideology.

  • Matt

    Happy to provide you with some laughs. The proof as to whether the new Supra will fail is yet to come, and that goes for its reliability as well. You worked at Plaza BMW a full year before the B58 motor was even released. The B58 has a closed-deck block, forged internals and has been highly praised since launch. Toyota tested the hell out of it too – so it should be pretty good.

  • tt tt

    Somehow I feel like this article is just an excuse to put a gigantic photo of the supra on the main page again.

    • Bo Hanan

      I think Toyota is saying this car is too expensive for it’s target buyer, and to slow for the market it’s priced at. The kids who want this car will have to wait 5 years for it to depreciate down to affordability. A 2.0L will help, but not much.

  • Steve Cohn

    I were interested in buying the Supra I’d by buy the 4 cyl., 2 liter version. 220 lbs reduction in weight is huge; the handling would be far superior to the 6 cyl version. 255 hp is more than enough for me. 0-60 times are greatly over rated. How many times in a month are drivers going to floor the car at every stop light trying to show up that Mustang V8?

  • javier

    lol car not even out yet and they talk about it’s need to evolve, good luck

  • Alduin

    Lol Infiniti sucks.

  • Matt

    Land Rover copied the GT-R huh? Is that why Land Rover products have had a blacked-out A piller since the 1980’s?

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