With a new trademark application in Europe, the on-again, off-again, long-awaited Toyota Supra revival is back on the rumor treadmill. Once again, the rumors of its rebirth focus on a platform co-developed with BMW and shared with an upcoming Z4 successor.
One problem: It’s been a long time since the Supra was new in Toyota showrooms, and while the time may be right for its return, the state of the art in sports cars has changed a lot since the last Supra arrived in the mid-1990s.
But what does a new Supra need to be? Let’s start with these 10 things.
A hybrid. It’s likely to be 2018 by the time a new Supra sees the road. By then, we’ll all be used to the McLaren P1s and Acura NSXs on the road, and electrification will mean plenty of pure electrics, maybe even one from Porsche. The Supra has to be a hybrid, at minimum — if only for the instant torque off the line from a small state-of-the-art battery pack.
Twin-turbocharged. A twin-turbo setup is a must, and it’s likely something that will be lifted from BMW’s parts bin.
An inline-six. Again, a no-brainer. No, it won’t be a 2JZ, but it needs to have six cylinders, and they need to be in a line. That’s not just Supra history, it’s reality. BMW has one sitting on a shelf right now, with turbos.
Rear-wheel drive with front-wheel electric motors. You’ve seen the new Acura NSX, right? Think that, just not mid-engine. A gas engine sends power to the rears, maybe with some hybrid assist, while electric motors kick in up front for torque vectoring. Call it all-wheel drive if you want, but this won’t be a Highlander.
Better-looking than the LFA. The Lexus LFA was a pretty handsome car. Since then, Toyota’s slayed it with its own Lexus LC coupe. No looking back now, guys. Blow us away. The FT-1 concept, which is thought to hint at the new Toyota sports car, is a good start.
Quicker than a Camaro SS. A new Camaro SS with a sticker price of about $38,000 can run zero to 60 miles per hour in about 4.0 seconds. It’s the new benchmark for mid-priced performance cars.
Under $75,000. The latest rumors suggest Supra pricing in the Corvette range. But the Supra never was a supercar. It was a sporty car first, then a true sports car. We’re all about evolution, but it may be a step too far from the $26,000 Toyota 86 to a $100,000 Supra. Plus, you remember what happened with the LFA, right?
Carbon fiber, aluminum, and ultra-high-strength steel. Mixed-material construction will be the only way to manage Supra curb weight while meeting global crash standards. All carbon, all aluminum — the benefits are lower per dollar invested. Toyota’s already shown its finesse with this in the latest LS concept car, and that’s sure to make its way throughout the lineup.
Dual-clutch 8-speed transmission. We’d love to see a real manual transmission in the Supra, since we #GiveAShift, but without a high-strength manual in the Toyota parts bin it’s far more likely we’ll see a DCT in the Supra.
A 200-mile-per-hour top speed. Corvettes and Camaros hit 200 miles per hour, or come very close. It’s a dizzying, new-era performance benchmark all its own.
Bonus round: It needs to be open-source for tuners. The fast-and-furious Supra is sure to be a darling of the SEMA set. If it’s so complex it can’t be modified, the appeal diminishes dramatically. Anyone with cash and skills should be able to modify it with parts overnighted from Japan. The question is, will it be ready for Race Wars?