Toyota’s New Sports Car Might Not Go Hybrid
In a collaborative project codenamed “Silk Road,” Toyota and BMW are teaming up to build the next-generation Supra and Z4. Much like the Toyota/Subaru partnership that birthed the FR-S and BRZ, this new effort will see contributions from both automakers, with the Germans responsible for the turbocharged inline-six cylinder engine and rear-drive chassis, and the Japanese penning the exterior body and throwing in a boatload of money.
Originally, rumors spread that the new Supra would bear a BMW-sourced 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder blessed with electrification thanks to Toyota’s extensive experience with hybrids. Output was placed somewhere north of 400 horsepower.
Now, however, CarAndDriver is shooting down that possibility, saying that while Toyota will let Bimmer in on some of its cheap hybrid technology, “there’s currently no indication that the Silk Road cars will offer hybrid options.”
Instead, the publication is reporting that BMW will develop a four-banger for the Z4, while Toyota will stick to the larger boosted straight six. It also says that leaks from Germany hint that the new Supra will be released in just two years time as a 2018 model, with the platform offering enough flexibility for additional BMW variants and even possibly a Lexus model.
Continue reading to learn more about the next Toyota Supra.
Why it matters
One look at the crop of current and soon-to-be released sports cars, and it’s easy to see why a hybrid powertrain for the new Supra is an easy sell from the rumor mill. The new NSX is a hybrid. The new 3 Series will be a hybrid. Mercedes and Jag are both going hybrid. The next Nissan Z might be a hybrid.
So it makes sense that the Supra would be no different. And while CarAndDriver is correct in pointing out that there’s nothing official to indicate Toyota will offer its new coupe with a gasoline engine paired to an electric motor, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a possibility.
Personally, I still see it as an option. This is the same automaker that gave us the Prius, so why should BMW be responsible for 100 percent of the powerplant? While the smooth power delivery of the German’s inline-six is certainly a thing of beauty, I wouldn’t mind seeing Toyota plunk down its bid in the electrified horsepower wars.
There are two problems, though. The first is weight. Hybrids are heavy, and while the Supra was never considered the most nimble import of all time, I would like to see it retain some ability in the corners.
Second is price. There are many sports cars out there that represent absurdly good value for the money (Corvette, anyone?) and if the Supra goes hybrid, we could see the sticker price outshine the rest of it.
But if anyone can pull off a quality hybrid system, it’s Toyota. We’ll just have to wait and see.
On the list of premiere Japanese sports cars, the Supra is near the top. Rumors of its return have been swirling ever since it was discontinued in 2002, and when Toyota unveiled the FT-1 concept last year, enthusiasts worldwide practically wept with joy.
The two-door uses a front-engine, RWD layout, with a forward-looking exterior design that sports a number of aggressive cuts and swoops. Toyota offered the concept as a drivable vehicle in Gran Turismo, and while the game car sounds like it’s got a straight six, specs for the actual production vehicle are sure to vary.