the return of the toyota supra is upon us – DOC637646
The highly anticipated return of the Toyota Supra could take place as early as 2018 now that development of the sports car has progressed to the point that Toyota and project partner BMW have moved on to developing their respective models independent of each other. For one, Toyota is already in the process of testing the Supra on the road, same as BMW with the convertible Z5, the German automaker’s sports car that will arise from the partnership with Toyota.
The return of the Supra marks an important time for Toyota as it tries to re-establish itself in the mainstream sports car scene. It’s been 14 years since the last Supra arrived and with the segment becoming as busy as it’s ever been in a long time, a flagship performance mode that would sit above the GT 86 and would carry one of the company’s most iconic nameplates is exactly what Toyota needs to compete in an increasingly competitive market.
Toyota has remained tight-lipped on the sports car’s power and performance capabilities, but it is already understood that the Supra would feature a hybrid all-wheel drive set-up that will be made up of a BMW gas-powered engine and electric motors whose energy is stored in supercapacitors.
Despite the expected similarities born from this collaboration, the Toyota Supra and the BMW Z5 will be two different models, largely because they’ll occupy different areas of the sports car market. The Supra, for instance, is likely to be slotted against the Honda NSX and will be packaged with a more purist thought to the development. On the other hand, the Z5 convertible is expected to take the reins from the BMW Z4 as the German automaker’s resident sports car, albeit one with a more balanced development of luxury and performance.
No decisions on the production side have been set for either car, but according to BMW board member Ian Robertson, there’s a possibility that both models could be built in the same production facility. The U.S. or Europe are the two most likely locations to have the facility, largely because of the importance of both markets for Toyota and BMW.
Why it matters
We’ve been waiting since 2012 for anything significant to come out of the Toyota -BMW partnership and while progress has been relatively slow up to this point, everyone knew that the automotive giants were building and developing something significant for themselves. And now that it’s been suggested that the collaboration is at a stage wherein both companies have taken over development of their own sports car projects, the anticipation surrounding the debuts of the Supra and the Z5 has just been dialled way up.
Personally, I’m excited to see both models, but I’m more interested to see what Toyota can come up with as a worthy successor to the legendary Supra name. The excitement isn’t that high for the Z5 because we already know what BMW is capable of when it comes to developing sports cars. That’s not the case with Toyota, unless you count the GT 86 as a worthy model to the automaker’s performance car heritage. I don’t and for good reason. The Supra, on the other hand, fits every requirement for a flagship sports car that can stare down and take on a rival like the Honda NSX.
The Supra buzz is only going to get louder as the days to its launch draw nearer, but in the long run, it might not be the only Toyota-controlled sports car to hit the market. Apparently, the same report also revealed that Lexus could dip its toes into the results of the Toyota-BMW sports car collaboration. Nothing official has been mentioned and Lexus, as it stands, does not have access to the program. But considering the relationship of Toyota and Lexus, it would make some sense for the premium brand to see what it can use from the results of the Toyota-BMW partnership.
Don’t expect to see anything on that front anytime soon though. For now, focus your attention on the nearing return of the Toyota Supra . It’s admittedly a day I did not see coming, but I’m more than happy to have been proven wrong on this one.