The New Toyota Supra Could Be Electrified
Toyota may call upon its Le Mans experience for an upcoming sports carby Jonathan Lopez, on
Look, I get it – you want a new Toyota Supra. I want a new Toyota Supra. The whole performance world wants a new Toyota Supra. Well, I’ve got good news – it looks like we won’t have to wait much longer to get it, as a pre-production mule was spotted last month doing some street testing in a full camo exterior. Now, to really whet your appetite, we’re bringing you a few tantalizing hints as to what’ll be used under the hood. Reading between the lines of a few recent comments made by a high-ranking Toyota rep, it’s looking more than likely that the new Supra will use a hybrid drivetrain.
That’s the news coming from the U.K. publication Auto Express, which recently spoke with Toyota Europe president and CEO Johan van Zyl about the possibility of using hybrid or plug-in hybrid technology for an entry in the sports car segment. His response: “I would imagine that in the future that will definitely happen.”
He continued, “We already have some sporting models with hybrid powertrains on the Lexus side. But on the Toyota side, I think we will find that if we can have a World Endurance Championship racing car with hybrid technology, it can happen on a road car,” adding, “I do not have any doubt whatsoever that in the longer-term future there will be a real Toyota sports model using electrification.”
Le Mans-inspired performance paired with the legendary Supra nameplate? Yes, please.
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Why it Matters
I’m sure there are more than a few of you out there already trying to stuff cash through your computer monitor to get your hands on the new Supra. While Toyota already has the brilliant little 86 coupe,a larger, more powerful sports car will do wonders for the automaker’s lineup. And although official confirmation is still forthcoming, all the rumors, spy shots, and hints are pointing towards this thing becoming a reality in the not-so-distant future.
Word has it BMW has had a hand in developing the Supra’s platform, with the Bavarians tailoring the underpinnings for the new Z4. According to Auto Express, BMW and Toyota have focused primarily on chassis development, which means the powerplant and drivetrain options will differ between the two offerings.
The Supra is one of those iconic imports, and speed lovers everywhere are rejoicing at the thought of its return, but I can’t help but wonder what electrification will do for the nameplate.
As for the styling, it’s believed the Supra will draw cues from the FT-1 concept revealed in 2014. And while the production version will most likely get an aesthetic that’s a bit more subtle, the shape we’re seeing in spy shots reveal a very handsome coupe with true sports car proportions and real potential.
The Supra is one of those iconic imports, and speed lovers everywhere are rejoicing at the thought of its return, but I can’t help but wonder what electrification will do for the nameplate. Compared to the 86, the Supra already has a heavier, more GT-esque style to it, so perhaps a big battery and complicated hybrid drivetrain will be the perfect continuation of that theme.
Electric power also raises questions about aftermarket support. The Supra was always considered ripe for modifications, especially when talking about the fourth-generation and its nearly indestructible twin-turbo 2JZ-GTE inline six-cylinder.
Supposedly, the 2JZ-GTE can support four-digit output on stock internals. Those are some mighty big shoes to fill, so how will the new hybrid compare? Will tuners have the same success coaxing additional power from it? How complicated will it be to turn a wrench on this thing?
Another question is whether the new Supra will be RWD, like its predecessor, or AWD. Adding an electric motor to the front axle is common practice amongst hybrid sports cars these days, and the Supra may very well follow suit. Some enthusiasts will like the extra grip, but others might prefer the dynamics of a more traditional engine-up-front, power-in-the-back setup.
Finally, it should be mentioned that the hybrid might be offered solely on the top trim level only, with lower trims outfitted with an un-electrified six-cylinder. A move like that could play well into the hands of tuner shops and at-home mechanics turned off by the thought of electrification.
Whatever the case, it’s looking more and more likely we’ll get the full scoop in the next year or so. Stay tuned.
Read our speculative review on the upcoming Toyota Supra here.
Source: Auto Express