Final production model finally revealed. Our best guess for Singapore? $300k pricing and a launch sometime this year…
Is this the most hyped and anticipated new car launch ever? Six years ago came the first announcement that Toyota and BMW would be teaming up to build a new sports car; five years ago the stunning FT-1 concept was revealed and the “Supra” trademark renewed, sending the rumour mill into overdrive; three years ago the first camouflaged test mules were spotted in the wild; last year, a racing concept debuted, was released in digital form in Gran Turismo, and a near-production prototype took to the hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
And now, 17 years after the last one ended production, we officially, finally, have a new Toyota Supra. Like all its predecessors, this fifth-generation ‘A90’ Supra is front-engined, rear-drive, and powered by a straight-six engine.
Unlike past Supras though, the new one is no longer a high tech, high performance 2+2 sports grand tourer, but a small, nimble 2-seat sports car. Not only does it share its platform with the new BMW Z4, but its engines too. Available at launch is the same 340hp/500Nm 3.0-litre ‘B58’ inline-six that resides under the bonnets of BMW’s various 40i models. This version, Toyota claims, is its fastest-accelerating production car ever, with a 0-100km/h time of 4.1 seconds. The standard transmission is the familiar 8-speed ZF automatic, but a manual gearbox has been developed, although its availability will depend on individual market demand.
For the first time, the Supra will also be available with turbo four-pot power – using the 2.0-litre ‘B48’ that powers the 20i and 30i BMWs. These are in a similar state of tune, with 197 or 258hp. In its home market of Japan, the 2.0-litre models carry an SZ and SZ-R designation respectively, while the six-cylinder is known as the RZ, although it’s not confirmed if this nomenclature will apply to other markets too.
The German connection can be found inside the cabin too. Most of the switchgear, including the climate controls, gear selector, and rotary controller for the infotainment system will be instantly recognisable to current BMW 2 Series and 3 Series owners.
Make no mistake though, the Supra/Z4 collaboration is so much more than just a simple badge-engineering exercise. For starters, the two companies developed their projects largely alone: engineers from both companies apparently stopped communicating with each other since 2014.
As a result, the Supra looks nothing like the Z4. Toyota claims the rounded front and rear ends are a nod to the previous ‘A80’ generation which cemented the car’s reputation in games and film, while the double-bubble roof is a throwback to the first Toyota sports car, the 2000GT.
To us, it looks pretty much like the dramatic FT-1 Concept, just scaled and shrunken to fit the platform. Perhaps surprisingly, the Supra is actually smaller than it looks. Its wheelbase of 2,470mm, for example, is 100mm shorter than Toyota’s current nimble rear-drive coupe, the 86.
That, combined with its wide track width of just under 1,600mm, creates a footprint with the supposed “golden ratio” of dimensions, which, together with the 50/50 weight distribution and extremely rigid body (even stiffer than the carbon-bodied Lexus LFA) should make for an extremely focused and balanced-handling machine.
There’s no info so far pertaining to the Supra’s price and availability in Singapore, but we are quite sure it’ll be sold here. While the previous Toyota sports car, the 86, didn’t do well here (or elsewhere), the Supra is a big thing pushed for by the company’s head honcho, racing-mad Akio Toyoda. We’re guessing it’ll come to Singapore some time in 2019.
But we’re also sure that it won’t be cheap. Launch pricing for the six-cylinder Supra in the UK currently stands at slightly over £50,000, which is the same price there as a BMW M2 Competition, Mercedes-AMG C 43, or Porsche 718 Cayman – all of which cost around $300k over here.