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.
This Supra appears to be walking the same path.