The highly anticipated all-new Toyota Supra has now reached a final phase of development and is destined to form the basis of a newly created Toyota performance sub-brand. Lightly veiled prototypes of the sleekly styled coupe are now seen frequently on the roads around the vast R&D operation of Toyota’s project partner, BMW, in Munich, Germany. The new Supra is being developed in a joint engineering venture with the upcoming BMWZ5. It will resurrect one of Toyota’s most highly treasured performance models following a 14-year hiatus for the Supra, which was first introduced to the Japanese car maker’s line-up in 1978.
The upcoming, fifth-generation Supra was first previewed by a pair of Toyota FT-1 concepts designed at the company’s Calty studio in California and unveiled at the 2014 Detroit motor show. The new Supra is set to reach UK showrooms during the second half of 2018. It will be offered with the choice of either a traditional petrol or a petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain. The hybrid version is claimed to draw on technology and processes developed for Toyota’s most recent TS050 LMP1 Le Mans race car.
It has a short front overhang and long, sweeping nose section, which houses a longitudinally mounted engine. As expected, the detailing throughout the new car’s largely aluminium body has been toned down and refined since the appearance of the FT-1, providing the production Supra with a crisper and smoother appearance. The two-door layout and liftback-style tailgate of the FT-1 are retained. Inside, the new Supra provides accommodation for two in the front, with space in the rear taken up by a shallow parcel shelf and a boot similar in size to that of the current Porsche 718 Cayman.
The Supra is planned to be sold exclusively as a fixed-roof coupe, whereas the Z5 is set to take a roadster-only bodystyle and act as a replacement for the recently discontinued Z4. The move is intended to ensure that there will be little or no cannibalisation of sales between the new Toyota and its BMW sibling. The starting point for the new sports car pairing is a freshly developed platform engineered by BMW. It derives chassis components and engineering solutions from the current 3 Series and its various derivatives, including the rear axle and five-link rear suspension from the M3/M4.
As stipulated from the start of the project, the new platform has been engineered to support both rear-wheel drive and – crucial to plans to provide both variants with petrol-electric hybrid power-four-wheel drive. Toyota and BMW have also developed a number of lightweight construction processes that will be used within the body structures of the Supra and Z5. Sources suggest the BMW roadster will weigh little more than 1400kg in turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder entry-level guise. For its part, Toyota has contributed extensive know how about hybrid drive systems to the project.