These days, Toyota isn’t an automaker that gets much credit for building cars that are fun to drive. Yes, it codeveloped the spritely Toyota 86 (aka Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ), a car that has won many Automobile staffers’ hearts despite its relatively low-torque engine. But by and large things at the Japanese brand are relatively stale compared to the mid-1990s when it sold the mid-engined MR2 sports car, the Celica All-Trac Turbo rally-inspired coupe, and the top-tier Supra Turbo.
Ah, yes, the Supra. Toyota has finally decided to revive its long-dormant sports car nameplate, and similar to the 86’s Subaru partnership, Toyota has codeveloped its new coupe with BMW, which will build its convertible Z4 on the same platform.
Unfortunately, both brands have done a keen job of preventing information leaks, so we still know precious little about the new Supra’s underpinnings. Our current best guesses have the car pegged as a rear-wheel-drive coupe, with power coming from a BMW-sourced turbocharged inline-six. (The last-generation Supra also used a straight-six in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions.) Purists would love to see a six- or seven-speed manual gear lever poking out of the center console, but the reality is we’re likely to be offered a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic exclusively. What about an even more powerful hybrid version? That could be one of Toyota’s big contributions to this partnership, and we wouldn’t rule it out.
A new Supra! The car Toyota enthusiasts have been waiting two decades for. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty, actually. Both Toyota and BMW are brands many enthusiasts feel have fallen from grace in the past decade or so, and even some of BMW’s more sporting M models are handicapped by excessive weight and a less-than-focused driving experience. And will the Supra come in at a price that working-class folks can afford? An expensive boulevard cruiser in wolf’s clothing likely won’t be enough for it to succeed.
We’ve seen plenty of images of the car during testing, and primetime might not be far away. We’d expect to get behind the wheel of a production version no sooner than mid-2018 with the first customer deliveries arriving toward the very end of next year.