Last month we brought you information about the upcoming mid-engined Corvette. But as exciting as that is, the ‘Vette’ is unlikely to come to Britain in right-hand-drive. There’s no guarantee that it won’t, rumours have spread that Australia is getting it, don’t hold your breath.
But what about a long-awaited car that we are getting?
The Toyota Supra may not sound as exciting as America’s V8 sports car. Its early history is not as storied, beginning life as just a version of the smaller Celica. But as the years went by it cemented itself as one of the greatest Japanese sports cars. Ever since the MKIV went out of production a decade and a half ago, there have been calls for a new one, both from fans and within the company.
Enter BMW. The German brand signed a deal with Toyota in 2012 to co-develop a sports car just as Subaru had done a few years prior. The German car will be the BMW Z4 while the Japanese will see the Supra name revived.
Allegedly, the two companies met when the deal was signed, agreeing that the car(s) will have a front-mounted engine and rear-wheel-drive, and haven’t spoken since!
The BMW has been unveiled, we know about its engine and drivetrain, but the Toyota has remained, for the most part, a mystery.
That is, until the 5th of October 2018 when patent drawings and a parts list leaked onto the internet. We know that power will come from Bavaria as the Supra will use a range of BMW engines. The entry level car will have a 2.0 litre, four-cylinder expected to make around 260bhp. The top of the range will feature a 3.0 litre six-cylinder motor, likely making north of 300bhp.
We also know that the Toyota will draw heavy inspiration from the FT-1 concept from 2014. And Toyota has officially confirmed that the car will be revealed once and for all at the Detroit Motor Show in mid-January 2019. Until then, we can do little more than speculate.
The Supra is, along with Nissan’s Skyline and the Mazda RX-7, one of the most iconic Japanese sports cars of all time. The last generation, along with the Skyline R32, R33, and R34 and the RX-7 FD, was an icon on both the road and track.
These cars came from an era where a gentlemen’s agreement between the Japanese firms meant limiting the horsepower rating to just 276bhp. If your £50,000 sports car, the price of a 400bhp Porsche 911 in those days, made only so much horsepower, you have to enhance in every way. The Toyota and the Nissan used state of the art turbocharged engines and very sophisticated four-wheel-drive systems that made them indomitable on any circuit. And the aftermarket scene took them to great limits that few could have thought possible when the originals were launched.
The news that the Supra will finally be making a comeback is a cause for celebration. They are to the Gran Turismo generation what the Ferrari Boxer and the Lamborghini Countach are to the prog rock generation.