The new Toyota Supra is nearly here… but do you care?


This has been one slow rollout of the new version of a beloved Toyota nameplate. The next-generation Supra is nearly here. First drive reports of the prototype version are trickling out this week and the early word is that it’s a good machine but maybe it’s not quite what everyone is hoping for.
The last Supra died back in 2002. It was part of a handful of sports cars that actually, in part, killed the sports car. Ford’s new Explorer had a hand in that as well, mind you, but sports car pricing started to hit stratospheric levels and the segment suffered.
Now we live in an era where seemingly any sort of vehicle can find a home (unless it’s a car with a Ford badge on it). Crossovers are king, but there are plenty of high-horsepower offerings in our midst. Additionally, we have a number of less powerful and rather entertaining sporty cars from which we can choose. The Supra should fall somewhere in the middle in the sports car space… but do you care?

This is essentially a BMW-sourced product with Toyota developing its own driving characteristics as much as it can on a project like this. The engine, transmission, chassis, and electronics are all BMW.
We have to assume that Toyota has taken so long to bring this thing (almost) to market because BMW has taken awhile to get its own Z4 (on which the Supra is based) finished. In the end, are you still interested in a car that doesn’t have much of a link to the iconic sports cars from which its name is derived? Toyota still hasn’t even shown the car without silly camouflage paint, even though BMW is proudly showing off the new Z4.
If you are interested, the car will be available to order starting this October but deliveries will not begin until later on in 2019. This slow product churn reminds me of the current Acura NSX. That was a car creating immediate excitement when the project was first announced. When it finally went on sale years later? It landed with a thud. And that’s a shame, because it’s actually quite brilliant despite being tangentially related to its predecessor.

Acura NSX: The real every day supercar


This Supra appears to be walking the same path.

20 Comments

  1. I’m guessing this will be a $50,000+ car, so I won’t be shopping for it. I’ll be interested in how it compares to the Z4. I guess for Toyota’s sake, I’m not.

  2. I haven’t been following it that closely, but there’s enough BMW content in there to make the idea confusing at best. The value proposition of a Toyota is the opposite of that of a BMW.
    They might as well put a rebadged John Deere in the showroom, though that might actually appeal to some subset of Tundra buyers.

  3. It’s a bit funny how one can interpret what Toyota is doing in the West. One thing is to say, yes, they are branching out, testing different waters, finding partners. The other perspective would be that Toyota has lost some of their core principles.
    The tiny cars and the Hiace are PSA products, the H-CR (H-RV? C-HR?) tries to be a funny Honda, now this BMW in Toyota clothing – this all misses a bit of the point of buying a Toyota, in my mind. I buy cars because they offer something others don’t: Great space utilization, design, motor/interior combo, or, crucially, outstanding reliability.
    Even English built Avensis trade on lower rates than those with a JP-VIN, and a PSA or BMW Toyota? Why not get the original instead? Would the typical Toyota buyer be convinced that his non-Japanese product will do what they want them to? I have no clue, but as a used car buyer 10-15 years down the road, I am watching closely how these collaborations pan out. Also, we Westerners need the Previa. Bring it back.

    1. Note that in America, the Camry-derived Sienna exists (because the Previa was too expensive, although subsequent Estima/Previas have been loosely Corolla-based, and therefore likely too small for the American market).

  4. It’s all a bit strange. The Z4 is taking on the Porsche 718 Cayman, Audi TT and Merc SLC (nee SLK) just as it always used to. The Supra, though, was historically a Porsche 944 rival. Its main rival would seem to be the Nissan 370Z, Which isn’t exactly a big seller.
    You know, if I was Toyota, I’d be releasing something entirely unique. With the Lexus RC now getting on a bit, how about replacing both with a kind of Toyota Soarer for the 21st century? All wizard hi-tech, fast as hell, but without punishingly hard suspension. As it is, aside from serving as a bigger brother to the GT86, I’m not entirely sure what the new Supra will achieve.

    1. I think its primary job will simply be to exist, have a halo presence on the website and in showrooms, and continue the message that Toyota is Not Boring.
      Of course the halo effect doesn’t work if it turns out to be a dud, but otherwise like the GT86 Toyota will be getting out of it cheaply compared with developing their own car. Your suggestion of doing a Toyota version of the RC makes more sense to me though.

    2. The Lexus LC is the 21st Century Soarer if you follow the lineage, the Lexus SC 430 is the Z40 chassis soarer, and was replaced by the LC.
      Kinda have a hankering for a Z30 or Z20 soarer at the moment, but I’ve got other JDM rustbuckets to deal with first.

  5. Not interested in the slightest. I’ll make concessions for coupes if they’re cheap or simply amazing, but this one likely won’t be. I think a better formula would have been Toyota mechanicals under BMW styling.
    It does make me thing about prior Supras, though. What about a 2JZ-GTE in the Wombat? I love inline sixes.

  6. I’m going to buy that instead of a Toyota 86 or a Lexus RC? Why? Because I can’t wait to put a hard-top weekend only car in my garage for $50K? No. And will it still lack Android Auto like every other LexYoda? These comments brought to you by a former Supra and Lexus coupe owner.

  7. I find it mildly interesting, I even think the 8 speed auto isn’t a bad idea. If you want the pure sportscar thing, there will be a second generation GT86 (with a 2.4 NA engine). This seems like something I could see a lot of actual buyers going for, if they can get over the badge.
    Don’t forget too, that’s there’s a generation of people who grew up on Fast and Furious movies who are older and wealthier now, so it’s probably pretty good timing to bring back the Supra name.

        1. Semantics really – you could argue the GT86 is a Celica replacement in all but name, but the Supra was orignally just a six cylinder and terrible handling version of the Celica, now the Celica is a four cylinder version of the Supra, and it’ll go round corners.

  8. I don’t get it. Why is Toyota badge-engineering other people’s cars to start with? If I want a BMW, I’d buy a BMW. If I want a Subaru, I’ll buy a Subaru. I expect a Toyota to have a certain personality, or perhaps a certain lack thereof. A Toyota should be like a CEO’s administrative assistant: rock solid reliable, massively capable, and as drama-free as possible. That pretty much precludes quirky boxer fours or German electronics.

  9. I’m glad it exists, but it’ll inevitably be out my price range, and the idea of owning what amounts to an off-lease BMW sports car (without the promise of gentle drivers who were only in it for the badge) is a little concerning.
    Plus, I pretty much guarantee that a bunch of people who couldn’t afford one anyhow will moan endlessly that it’s not a 10-second car with parts overnighted from Japan (nevermind that a MkIV Turbo also cost about $70k inflation adjusted, and this should really be compared to the NA models), and as it’ll never sell much more than 5000 units a year, that will somehow be the reason for its failure.

  10. As someone who seems to automotively bleed blue and white, and who uses turn signals, I find it moderately interesting in the way that I think a successor to a Z4M Coupe would be interesting. It’ll be too expensive to consider new, but if they depreciate like a typical BMW, could be a performance bargain a few years down the road, presuming you have the patience to deal with the older bmw type problems.

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