Toyota reentered the rear-wheel drive sports car game with the 86 (née Scion FR-S) back in 2012, and now it's got something more ambitious in the works. Something that fans have waited a long time for—a new Supra.
We knew for some time that Toyota was developing a new sports car in partnership with BMW, but at this year's Geneva Motor Show, the good news was confirmed with the GR Supra Racing Concept. Then at Goodwood, Toyota showed off a camouflaged near-production Supra, promising it'll carry on a long tradition of rear-wheel drive, straight-six powered sports cars.
There are still a lot of unknowns, though. So here, we've compiled what we know about the 2019 Supra—based on our conversations with chief engineer Tetsuya Tada at Geneva and Goodwood— some of the more credible rumors we've heard.
This story will be continually updated as more information is learned. It was last updated 7/18/2018.
It's Getting Straight-Six and Four-Cylinder Power
Toyota is developing the rear-wheel drive platform for the Supra with BMW, and one advantage to this partnership is access to smooth, straight-six power. At Goodwood, Toyota confirmed that the Supra will get an inline-six. Chief engineer Tada has been insistent the Supra will come so equipped.
Specs haven't been confirmed yet, but we uncovered documents from transmission supplier ZF that indicate the Supra's six will offer up 335 hp. This is BMW's single-turbo 3.0-liter B58B30 unit, the same found in the M240i and many other cars from the German brand.
Those documents from ZF also indicate that the Supra will get a four-cylinder option, too. Specifically, BMW's turbocharged, 2.0-liter codenamed B48B20, which will make 262 hp. Toyota has been reluctant to confirm this engine, but at Goodwood, Tada told us it's a reality. He noted this engine is lighter and offers better weight distribution, and, it's the perfect platform for engine swaps, since it's cheaper. So if you're gonna put a 2JZ in this new Supra, start with the four-cylinder.
There Might Not Be a Manual Option
Those documents from ZF indicate that both engines will be offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission, with no mention of a manual. In our conversations with Tada, he hasn't ruled out the possibility of a manual Supra, but it seems unlikely. Perhaps if there's demand for a manual down the line, Toyota may offer one, but for now, we're preparing for an automatic-only Supra.
It Shares a Platform With the New BMW Z4
The Supra will be the result of a BMW-Toyota collaboration first announced in 2012. The two companies are working together on engines and lithium-ion batteries, and this rear-wheel drive sports-car platform. In addition to the Supra, this platform will underpin the upcoming BMW Z4, which was first shown in concept form last year.
They won't be twins, though. For starters, the BMW will only come as a roadster, while the Supra is a coupe. And while they'll share some major components, the development work for each was carried out separately. We get the sense that the Supra will be the more focused sports car of the two.
Here It Is Running Up the Goodwood Hillclimb
Toyota showed off camouflaged Supra at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, giving us our first look at the car in motion. Both Tada and Toyota master driver Herwig Daenens drove the car up the Festival of Speed's famous hillclimb.
It'll Be Rear-Wheel Drive
We heard rumors that the Supra could go all-wheel drive, but at Geneva, Tada-san confirmed that the MkV will be rear-drive, like all Supras before it. He has some experience developing rear-drive cars, as he was the chief engineer of the Toyota 86.
Tada-san told us that he's taken lessons learned with the 86, and applied them to the Supra, promising it'll be even better to drive. He's targeting a 50-50 front-to-rear weight distribution and an even lower center of gravity than the 86.
last year, Shigeki Tomoyama, the president of Toyota's Gazoo Racing division, said even Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda is taking an active role in the Supra's development. Apparently, he wanted it to have a "more mobile" rear axle, which to us, sounds like it'll be all good and slidey.
Toyota Is Testing It at the Nürburgring
There's been no lack of videos showing the Supra in testing at Germany's famous Nürburgring. This is the proving ground of choice for high-performance products, and an indication that Toyota really wants the Supra to be a true driver's car.
It'll Be Made in Austria
Last May, we reported the Supra would be built in Austria by contract manufacturer Magna Steyr, which is best known as the company that builds the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. Toyota hasn't confirmed this yet, but Magna has said it'll be making the Z4 at its facility in Graz.
It'll Debut After the Z4
Just like we saw the Z4 concept before we saw the Supra concept, Tada has said the production Z4 will debut before the Supra. that the Z4 will debut sometime this summer, so that at least gives us a vague idea of when we'll see the Supra in all its production-ready glory. We don't know when exactly the Supra will debut, but an auto show early next year seems likely.
It Will Look Sort of Like This
Renderings from SupraMkV.com inspired by spy photos imagine a Supra based on Toyota's FT-1 concept. The FT-1 made its debut in 2014 at the Detroit Auto Show and previewed what a future rear-drive sports car from Toyota could look like. With any luck, the production car will keep the concept car's gorgeous lines.
It Might Not Be Cheap
In an interview with Toyota Europe R&D chief Gerald Killmann said that the Supra "will not be a cheap car." He said this to create a clear space between it and the more-affordable Toyota 86, which starts at $26,255.
It Might Be Smaller Than the MkIV Supra
In its March 2018 issue, Japan's Best Car magazine has some . The magazine reports the new Supra's dimensions as follows:
- Wheelbase: 97.2 inches
- Length: 172.4 inches
- Width: 73 inches
- Height: 50.8 inches
- Weight: 3284 lbs
Interestingly, those numbers would make the new Supra a little shorter than the MkIV both in length and wheelbase. It would slightly taller and wider, though. Weight would come in a little above , but below the turbo's 3415 lbs.
When we saw it in person at Goodwood, the Supra looked relatively small. Plus, Tada told us that it actually has a shorter wheelbase than the already compact 86.
It's Going Racing
Toyota didn't announce the return of the Supra with a race-car concept festooned with Gazoo Racing branding for no reason. We don't know which series the Supra will race in, but Tada-san said that the concept was built to LM GTE specs, so it's likely we'll see it in the World Endurance Championship. Japan's Super GT series seems like an obvious home too.
A less obvious home? NASCAR's Xfinity series, but we'll see there Supra next year. Of course, the Xfinity Supra is a Supra in name (and vague appearance) only, but hey, we like to see it racing anywhere.
Tada-san told us that Toyota is developing the Supra race car alongside the road car, hopefully meaning it should be competitive right out of the gate. We'll find out in due time.