If there is a car that is included on almost every list of “greatest enthusiasts car” it’s the Toyota Supra. The little two-door sports car was originally bolted together as a response to the Z cars coming from competitor Datsun, but it eventually grew into a special machine with a cult-like following.
Now after years of rumor, speculation and dreaming, it looks like the new Toyota Supra is all but official. Toyota’s newest concept car, the FT-1 likely previews the new shape and design of the upcoming Supra replacement.
The story of the Supra may start in 1978, but it was in 1987 with the introduction of the first turbocharged Supra, that it began to truly build its performance legacy. This third-generation Supra was fitted with more than a powerful engine, it featured adjustable suspension and brake systems that helped make it great around a racetrack as well.
It became a cult icon in the auto enthusiast world, and everyone has been clamoring for a new model since the old one was pulled form U.S. showrooms in the late ’90s.
With more info and rumors coming out every day about the 2015 Toyota Supra it’s only a matter of time before we find out what Toyota really plans to do. Read on to see our thoughts on the matter.
Updated 2/3/2014: We have just created several new renderings of the anticipated Supra. You can see one image above and the rest after the jump.
Hit the jump to see why.
UPDATE 12/05/2011: The return of the Supra name has been denied and confirmed by Toyota so many times, it’s equivalent to watching a tennis ball endlessly shooting over the net - back and forth, back and forth. Now, however, that game may finally be coming to a close. During the official debut of the GT 86 , Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada, said there was room for a three-tier sports car line-up in the Toyota range, with one car sitting below the 86 and one above it: "Right now the 86 will be a mid-size sports car. I would like to have one smaller and one larger. One would probably be a Supra follower. Nothing has been decided yet. It would [be] like a Supra successor."
We’ll see how long this story rides before Toyota throws another game into the set.
UPDATE 12/13/2011: MotorTrend has offered new details on the new generation Supra set to be released in 2015. It seems that the car is being tested with a 3.5-liter V-6 hybrid system generating over 400 hp. It has also been rumored that the car will feature a design close to the FT-HS concept revealed at the 2007 Detroit show.
UPDATE 07/03/2012: A few days ago BMW and Toyota signed an agreement for co-developing a new sports car. And now, Automotive News is reporting that the next generation Toyota Supra could be built using the BMW 6-series architecture: "Anything is possible. The key factor is that the products of both companies retain their own individual character, despite jointly developed technologies."
Updated 1/14/2014: Toyota revealed its FT-1 concept in Detroit yesterday that we all agree is obviously a preview of what will eventually be a concept version of the next-generation Supra. Read mode after the jump.
2014 Toyota FT-1 Concept - 2014 Detroit Auto Show
When we first laid eyes upon the Gran Turismo 6-bound FT-1, we all immediately though that it was a preview to the supra. Well, Toyota did go so far as to say so, but we’re pretty sure that a concept will soon roll out that is loosely based on the FT-1, sans the crazy air intakes and outlets on the front and rear, that it will tout as a Supra Concept. The profile of the FT-1 looks prime for production, so look for this silhouette to carry into the Supra concept in the future.
Drawing heavy inspiration from the FT-1 Concept, the major changes in our renderings are based on how the car might look like if it reaches production. Dropping the ultra fancy Formula 1-style nose from the FT1 at the front, which is admittedly awesome but unfortunately doesn’t seem like something that could go beyond the concept stage, the rendering features a toned-down grill that looks somewhat similar to the GT86.
The naked headlamps are replaced by covered ones — again a move towards a more production-ready version. The blacked-out A-pillars and side air intakes from the FT-1 remain in the renderings, however, the double-bubble roof from the FT-1 is dropped and the greenhouse is now slightly raised in height, allowing for more interior space and better outside visibilty.
Moving to the back, the pop-up spoiler from the FT-1 is replaced by a fixed wing that draws inspiration from the iconic MK-IV Supra. Similar to the FT-1, the large exhaust pipes are merged into the body on both sides with a new diffuser.
While our renderings are purely speculative and Toyota has so far not commented on it’s plans for the Supra, the name in itself is a huge and admired brand which Toyota certainly wouldn’t want to waste..
The potential exterior of the Supra has been previewed many times by various concepts over the last several years. The FT-HS concept car was revealed way back in 2007 and was the main catalyst for the Supra revival rumor.
Now at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, Toyota unveiled the FT-1 concept . While radically different from most of Toyota’s previous concepts, it shares many notable details with the previous FT-HS concept car. When looking at the profile, it’s easy to see the two cars share a similar shape. Notice the cut in the driver door, and the similar upward stroke of the character line towards the rear fender vent. Also note the shape and positioning of the vent in the front fender. The FT-HS features squarer lines and a slightly shorter length, but there is a lot in common visually
Moving to the rear, the similarities are more subtle. The taillamps may not look identical, but they share a common shape and light profile. The double bubble roof is also present on both cars, and both cars feature prominent shoulders over the rear tires. Remember that there is a full seven years between these concepts. Having them look this similar is not a coincidence
The drivetrain of the new Supra is shrouded in more mystery than nearly any other part of the car. There have been many rumored drivetrain configurations over the years from turbo four-cylinders to the V-10 from the Lexus LFA and most anything in between. Since this will wear a Toyota badge, a hybrid system in a good bet.
Currently the consensus is a V-6 hybrid system that will produce about 400 horsepower. The system will likely be very similar to what is currently offered in the Lexus LS 600h, but will trade the 5.0-liter V-8 for a forced induction V-6. The same system will likely find its way into other cars in the Lexus stable to offset development costs. The LF-LC concept looks a likely candidate.
Suspension and Brakes
There are no details on brakes or suspension, but we expect the Supra to follow in the footsteps of the FR-S/GT86 in providing a sporty ride that tends to lean towards the comfort side of the scale.
Braking duties will probably be handled by multi-piston disc units on all four corners with a rotor diameter of at least 11.5 inches.
The competitors for the Supra depend on pricing. If Toyota chooses to offer the Supra for $60,000 or more, it will be squarely aimed at powerhouses like the Porsche Boxster and Chevrolet Corvette . Unless the Supra is the best car Toyota has ever built, it will be hard pressed to dethrone either of those machines from their respective performance thrones. But weirder things have happened.
The more sensible choice would be trying to offer the Supra in a price bracket closer to $40,000. This will make it more expensive than the 370Z, but the added performance and hybrid fuel economy system will help woo buyers. The Mustang GT and Camaro SS will also be prime targets for conquest in the $40k price range.
Is it actually coming?
That is the hardest question to answer. Akio Toyoda, the CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation has said on many occasions that he wants to infuse some excitement and performance back into the brand. He proved he was more than just talk when he helped pilot a Lexus LF-A in the 24 Hours Nürburgring race in 2009.
Akio and many staff members in Toyota have said multiple times that they are bringing back the Supra. It seems like there have been just as many stories of the project being canceled or altered. Until Toyota announces the car as official, there is no way to truly know, but with the amount of time and effort already poured into this project, I can’t see Toyota giving up now. If I were a betting man, I would expect to see an official announcement about this car before the end of 2015.