6 Things We’ve Learned from the Toyota Supra Prototype at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
I will be blunt - the public anticipation for the new Toyota Supra is overwhelming. I do not remember such a worldwide craze for a new car since the Tesla Model 3 debut a few years back. However, the Supra is decidedly different compared to the Model 3 - in its layout, in its character, and in its purpose. This is the second modern Toyota sports car (first being the GT86), and it builds on a massive legacy of its four predecessors. I cannot even grasp the risk Toyota took upon itself to make a car like this. The Japanese Automaker has some balls. With the first dynamic public debut at the hill climb of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Toyota Supra A90 showed a few quirks we did not know about before. Considering all the hype building up in advance, the debut itself was a bit underwhelming. Yet, an army of curious eyes and ears saw and heard things.
I am sharing with you five things we have learned from the Toyota Supra prototype at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
It’s Far More Focused Compared To The Toyota 86 (GT86)
The new car, with its RWD layout, has a wheelbase that's actually shorter than that of the GT86
Behind the wheel of the Toyota Supra prototype at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Hillclimb was the chief engineer of the whole A90 project, Tetsuya Tada. This guy, ladies and gents, is a proper gearhead.
One not very much loved among the Toyota corporate machinery who only judge things by numbers at the bottom of balance sheets. He is one of us, and the guy responsible for the development of the GT86. Admit it, the 86 is, despite the chronic lack of grunt, an epic car. While still being tight-lipped about the whole Toyota Supra A90 project, Tada actually said a few words to Autocar journalists at the Goodwood Estate and revealed tidbits like “the center of gravity is lower than the GT86’s.” Also, he added that the “body rigidity is twice that of the GT86.”
This gives us a lot to think about. Carbon fiber is at the core of the architecture as is the case with the Z4, and even the i8 and the i3 share some structural enhancements made of it. Furthermore, Tada implied that the car will have 50:50 weight distribution. Again, BMW trademark.
I am not saying others don’t do it like that, but BMW has been adamant about 50:50 distribution for so long that it has basically become their trademark. For example, the old Supra TT MKIV had a 52:48 weight distribution. The new car, with its RWD layout, has a wheelbase that’s actually shorter than that of the GT86 (it’s actually closer to the 100.4 inches wheelbase of the MkIV.) Add in the long bonnet, and the new Supra definitely has all the right ingredients to become a dynamic beast.
Supra finished its first stint on the Goodwood hill in 70 seconds or so.
Although I was a bit disappointed with the first Toyota Supra run up the Goodwood Hillclimb, I watched it a few more times to make sure I did not miss anything. Then, with a sufficiently high volume in my headphones, I actually heard how awesome the car sounds. With the inevitable aftermarket exhaust system, the new Supra should sound properly mad. Zooming through the vastness of the Internet, I even found out that Supra finished its first stint on the Goodwood hill in 70 seconds or so. Now, bear in mind that Tada did not actually push the car.
He waved out of it and went all over the hill in a quiet, relaxed manner. So, this 70-second pass does not tell us anything. The fastest at the hill was the McLaren-Mercedes F1 car from 1999 at 41.6 seconds. Last year, for example, the Maserati GranTurismo did it in 58.42. Considering the Maserati GranTurismo’s time, I doubt that the Supra could go much below 60 seconds (if at all.)
It’s Not Like the Z4?
Toyota and Gazoo Racing apparently did a lot to differentiate the new Supra from its stablemate - the BMW Z4.
"It’s different to the Z4; they are two different cars. We didn’t start by finding common parts. We worked on our own ideas to see what cars we wanted to create, then we shared ideas to identify where we can share common parts," Tetsuya Tada commented at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year.
Toyota and Gazoo Racing apparently did a lot to differentiate the new Supra from its stablemate - the BMW Z4. Unfortunately, we do not have a clue of the exact things they did, but ever since the first question about their similarities has been posed months ago, Toyota officials were clear. The Supra will have a different character, it will drive differently, and it will probably have a unique exhaust note. After all, the BMW Z4 is a freaking convertible, and this, clearly, isn’t. As this is Toyota we are talking about, I believe them. I really do. However...
It is Like the Z4?
Apart from the clear BMW-sourced parts we found out that the BMW Z4 and the new Toyota Supra will be made by Magna Steyr in Austria
The Toyota Supra prototype that appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed may wear that red, white, and black camouflage that evokes Toyota Gazoo Racing colors, but plenty of keen eyes and smartphones there saw a lot. In those photos, people started noticing things - especially on the inside. The prototype that run up the Goodwood hill climb actually had the steering wheel strangely similar to what one may have seen in, say, the BMW 2 Series. The display on top of the dash also looks like the one from BMW, as do the stalks behind the wheel, the gear lever, and the font on the HVAC controller, among other things. Did Toyota just dive in the BMW interior parts bin and took what it liked (or what that corporate board found most economic?) We will definitely know more about the Toyota Supra interior (which was one of the highpoints in the old car) in the coming months.
Apart from the clear BMW-sourced parts we found out that the BMW Z4 and the new Toyota Supra will be made by Magna Steyr in Austria, probably on the same production line.
Then, the Supra should receive BMW’s drivetrain - the engine and the transmission, as well as BMW architecture with the “Carbon Core.”
Considering all of this, I can see a lot more real physical evidence that the Supra is like the Z4, than that it isn’t. Thus, one piece of my brain believes Toyota will create something dynamically and aesthetically unique, but the other part says that it will do it with BMW Z4 parts. It could work. Look at the Huracan and the R8. They are both awesome, different where it counts, yet, really, really similar.
The Toyota Supra Prototype
The A90 Supra at Goodwood did sport quite a striking camouflage, but some come close to it and noticed that the car has more than a few fake vents
Bear in mind that the car that appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is a prototype. A near-production prototype, true, but a prototype nonetheless. Giving it beans at the Goodwood Hillclimb, Toyota most definitely is trying to find out what the people think about the car precisely identifying points to change or improve. The A90 Supra at Goodwood did sport quite a striking camouflage, but some come close to it and noticed that the car has more than a few fake vents. I am talking about the vents behind the doors and on the front fenders. While this sounds a bit cheesy and corny, I have to point out again - this is a prototype. Yet, even if the Supra with fake makeup goes on sale, I wouldn’t be too worried. Do you really think that the side vents on certain AMG or BMW M cars do anything? I do not hear much moaning about them.
The other important piece of information are the Michelin Pilot SuperSport tires - 255/35 ZR19 on the front and 275/35 ZR19 on the rear.
Get this now:
- 2016 Nissan 370Z Nismo - 245/40 R19 (Front) and 285/35 R19 (Rear)
- 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman S - 235/40 R19 (Front) and 265/40 R19 (Rear)
- 2017 BMW M2 Coupe - 245/35 R19 (front) and a 265/35 R19 (Rear)
The new Toyota Supra, at least in the iteration showed at Goodwood, will most certainly gun the cars I listed here. Ok, the upcoming high-performance Supra GRMN will go after 911s, F-Types and even the entry level Corvette. That’s what you wanted, isn’t it? To be faster, meaner, and altogether better in your Toyota compared to any upscale name?
Well, Toyota listened.
The 2019 Toyota Supra Engine
Nevertheless, the rumored power output of 335 horsepower seems likely although no one confirmed it.
Speaking to Autocar, Tada mentioned the engine.
“I can’t disclose specific figures, but the output of this engine is on a par with that which we have with the F-Series from Lexus. But you can imagine from seeing it that the car is light and compact – its wheelbase is even shorter than the GT86’s. It’s around 200-300kg (440 lbs to 660 lbs) lighter than the F-Series.”
Even though he suggested the output, I am not quite sure he was talking about horsepower. The torque figure is much more likely as the BMW straight six can develop anywhere from 330ish pound-feet of torque to more than 410 pound-feet of torque. The five-liter in the RC F, on the other hand, handles 389 pound-feet of torque. Nevertheless, the rumored power output of 335 horsepower seems likely although no one confirmed it. What is likely is the limited slip differential and the eight-speed automatic transmission. All from BMW, of course, but with a Toyota twist, I hope. Coupling this with a weight of a bit under 3,300 lbs and we have a cool, capable, sub-5-sec to 60 mph sports car. 155 mph top speed guaranteed too.
As for the other versions of the car, the entry-level model may gain a 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine with 248 horsepower, while the GRNM will go all the way up to 450 horsepower. Again, the straight six from BMW can handle it easily.
When Will We See It?
The first photo of the finished production car we can see as soon as the Paris Motor Show in October.
The whole world expected to see a production model at Goodwood, but Toyota did not reveal it. It did, however, say that the new Supra will go on sale internationally in the first half of 2019. The first photo of the finished production car we can see as soon as the Paris Motor Show in October. Or, at the very least, in Geneva in March next year. Be that as it may, the Supra is a nearly finished product. Considering the challenging circumstances, Toyota simply had to find a partner to develop it and to make a proper business case of it. It could hardly partner with anyone better to do the job than BMW. While the Goodwood Festival of Speed presentation of the Toyota Supra did not give us all the info we wanted and needed, it did show us that the car sounds great, goes fast, and looks almost ready for the streets.
Regardless, be sure that this isn’t the hyped up, tuned up, and modded drag street king we have been feeding our brains with for the past decade and a half. It is a sports car. Probably a good one, but it isn’t a Ferrari 488 GTB killer.
Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Toyota Supra.
Read our full review on the 2014 Toyota FT-1 concept car.
Read our full speculative review of the 2020 BMW Z4
Read more Toyota news.
Read more Goodwood Festival of Speed.