The Toyota Supra is an automotive legend. It’s right up there with some of the greats, thanks to the legendary tuning capabilities of the 2JZ-GTE engine. In the right hands, the engine could be elevated to the point that it would go toe-to-toe with supercars. Then there was the A80’s chassis, which handled all that power with grace.
All this means is expectations are high for the upcoming Toyota Supra. It’s been a long time since Toyota stopped making the car. People have been anticipating something truly amazing, but will their hopes be dashed?
There’s still much we don’t know about the car, but a new wave of official and backchannel information has shed some interesting light on the resurrected Supra.
You probably already know about the BMW connection for the Supra, so I’ll keep this brief. Developing a sports car today isn’t as profitable as it used to be. To share the costs, Toyota teamed up with BMW. That means the Supra and new Z4 share a platform. Not everything between the two are identical, but this will be the most Bimmer Toyota yet.
Toyota worked up a frenzy when it said the Supra would be attending this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Even though it was obvious from the announcement that we wouldn’t be seeing the final product, the Internet is really good at spinning things to a certain tilt. Soon, thousands of salivating fans thought they would finally get to see the car in its finished form.
Instead, we saw a prototype with geometric camo take a nice lap around the course. The driver didn’t appear to be pushing the car anywhere near the envelope, considering he was waving at spectators as he drove by.
Despite all the camo, we could tell a few things about the car’s shape just by looking at it. While it’s a prototype and things will surely change, the overall shape looks similar to the Toyota FT-1 concept from 2014. The body lines have been toned down, and the hood isn’t nearly as long. In other words, the car’s trimmer and more of a crowd-pleaser.
That’s fine and all, but what’s under the skin? While Toyota didn’t exactly pop the hood, the executive team has been dropping some interesting nuggets of information about what’s in store.
Testsuya Tada, chief engineer for the Supra, told Road & Track that the rumors of a four-cylinder engine for the car are true. Shocked? Don’t worry, the four-banger won’t be the only powertrain option. We know exactly what the four-cylinder engine will be: BMW’s B48B20. It’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged unit with 262 horsepower on tap. While it’s not going to push out a mountain of horsepower and torque, some key advantages come with this option.
For starters, a big engine up front in a rear-wheel-drive car presents an interesting balancing dynamic. This is especially true when braking hard, accelerating hard, and cornering hard – in other words the things you do in a performance vehicle like all the time.
This engine will keep the retail price lower. Some people will want a Supra, but won’t want to shell out a ridiculous amount of cash to own one. Others will have plans to tune the car and so will be looking to yank the engine and swap in something different (hint: 2JZ). A lower price would help with such plans. Other people just don’t want to deal with a monster of a vehicle. It gives Toyota a chance to sell more cars and turn more of a profit, making these kinds of projects more likely for the future.
For some, momentous power is the only way to go. If you’re such a person, the Toyota Supra in its stock form just won’t be a good fit. There will be an inline six-cylinder option, the BMW B58B30. It comes with a single turbocharger and 335 horsepower.
Ten years ago, that kind of power would’ve been pretty respectable. But, we’re in the midst of a horsepower war, and you can get a Camry with close to the same power. Why didn’t Toyota shoot for something like 600 horsepower? After all, Dodge has whipped up all kinds of success pushing engines to even more glorious heights.
Lest you only focus on horsepower, consider this engine also produces 389 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s more than a respectable amount. The Supra’s curb weight with this powertrain should be about 3,500 pounds. That’s several hundred pounds lighter than the admittedly fun Lexus F-Series cars.
Oh, and on top of that, the Supra’s wheelbase will be shorter than the Toyota 86’s.
Supposedly the Supra’s front-to-rear weight distribution will be 50:50. Different aerodynamic designs were created to maintain proper downforce at track speeds, like hood vents straight over the front wheels. A limited-slip differential will come with the car as well. That means this isn’t a machine made for straight-line, drag strip acceleration. It’s something created to hug the turns and amaze you with extreme agility. In fact, Tada confirmed that the Porsche Cayman is being used to benchmark the car.
Before the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Toyota dropped a shocker. The Supra will compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series starting next year. That right there is a smart move, because plenty of consumers in North America watch NASCAR. As the saying goes, winning races on Sunday will get people in dealerships on Monday. It’s a great marketing tool.
Also likely on the menu is GTE racing. Tada said the car was developed with such competitions in mind. That’s evident with the small front end and wider rear section. It would possibly be used by Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division in the World Endurance Championship or 24 Hours of Le Mans.