New Toyota Supra: first spy pictures of 2018 sports car

New Toyota Supra front

The rumour mill has been stirring for years, but it looks like Toyota‘s new Supra is finally hitting the road. The hybrid sports car has been papped undergoing testing in disguise for the first time. 

An enthusiast’s favourite, the last Supra went out of production in 2002, so the return of the iconic name is big news. Earlier this year we learnt that Toyota and BMW were to partner up and develop an all-new sports car together, which would become both the new Supra and the replacement for the Z4 (rumoured to be called Z5).

New Toyota Supra rear

It was first believed that the styling of the new Supra would be heavily inspired by the Toyota FT-1 supercar, but these camouflaged spy images show a toned-down design. Still, it looks shorter than the prototypes of the Z5 we’ve seen so far.

A long bonnet features a front bumper jutting out from beneath the headlights, while a sculpted rear-end is clearly evident. This test mule also features a hard-top rather than the Z5’s fabric roof, and it’s believed that the Supra will be strictly offered as coupe. 

Earlier in 2016, Toyota made new trademark applications in Europe and the US for the Supra name, casting a fresh spotlight on the project. BMW and Toyota announced their joint venture all the way back in 2011 – declaring hydrogen fuel cells, shared battery tech and a new sports car platform were included in the deal.

While the BMW Z5 and new Supra will take advantage of the shared technology, the Supra will likely be the bigger car of the two That will allow the Supra to sit about the GT86 model in the Toyota line-up, and as such offer much more in terms of performance.

New Toyota Supra side on

Rumours suggest the new Supra will come fitted with a straight-six engine from BMW’s powertrain stable, forgoing the four-cylinder engines of lesser Z5s. However, whatever the engine the Supra’s ace card should come in the form of hybrid-electric tech to boost performance. 

It’s likely that the Toyota hybrid tech will have much in common with its Le Mans race cars. The new sports car will use electric motors on the front and rear axle, with a petrol engine driving the rear wheels. Electric power will come from regenerative braking, and will be stored in a lithium ion battery. This will allow both brands to eventually offer plug-in hybrid options.

Interestingly, the system will implement Toyota’s first-ever dual-clutch transmission, in place of the CVT gearboxes we’re accustomed to in existing Toyota and Lexus hybrids.

By designing the motors in-house, and taking advantage of BMW’s carbon-fibre reinforce plastic weight-saving methods, Toyota is thought to be targeting a kerbweight of less than 1,400kg. However, it’s expected that the BMW will be the lighter of the two models. Both cars are expected to debut only a few months apart, but expect the Z5 to break cover first at the end of 2017.

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