By on April 17, 2018

Toyota’s return of the Supra has to be the most exciting vehicle nobody knows anything about right now. We know it was co-developed with BMW using the same platform as the new Z4 and we have a pretty good idea of what it will look like in production form. But the void of technical specs has left us digging for any morsel of information that might sustain us.

A new morsel has come in and it might be disappointing to those of you living outside the bonds of reality. The new Supra will not be an easily affordable automobile.

This shouldn’t be incredibly surprising. The Supra Mark IV wasn’t exactly automotive history’s greatest bargain. In the late 1990s, you could purchase a Mustang SVT Cobra and a Honda Civic DX for what it cost to acquire a base-model Supra. So there is no reason to assume the forthcoming edition will be intended for 86 or BRZ shoppers that recently received a modest pay increase from Best Buy. 

According to the Netherlands’ AutoRAI, Toyota’s vice president of R&D, Gerald Killmann, took a pause from debating environmental politics to discuss the Supra’s future pricing. The author was attempting to have Killmann cop to Europe leading the way in terms of pollution regulations but he was having none of it, saying it was a topic best left for political discourse.

Changing gears, AutoRAI allowed the Toyota executive to discuss Gazoo Racing — which flowed nicely into Supra talk. “This car was mainly developed in Japan,” Killmann explained in Dutch. “The European R&D center is not much involved. There will be a race version and [after] we have shown the production version, we can tell more.”

We already know it’ll share a significant portion of its most essential components with BMW’s Z4 but Killmann outlined some of the important the differences.

“The platform is the same. The same applies to the powertrain,” he said. “The styling is of course completely different and also the adjustment of the chassis will be very different. The powertrain is not a hybrid, but a petrol engine. It will not be a cheap car. There will be a clear difference between the GT86 and Supra. The GT86 remains the affordable sports car, the Supra becomes the performance model. Whether the production will be limited, we are not going [to say] now.”

Speculation, helped by industry rumors, has the new Z4 working with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and optional inline 3.0-liter engine. History would point to both the BMW and the Toyota using the latter motors as their more prestigious powerplants and BMW already has an turbocharged inline-six in the M3 and M4 that could be ready for adoption.

Pricing, however, requires a bit more creativity. Assuming Toyota adheres to a similar pricing target as it did in the 1990s, the new model should be in the $48,000-$62,000 range — if you adjust for inflation, account for where the yen is today, and remain optimistic about Supra transaction prices. That value also syncs up with the Z4’s MSRP for the last year it was sold.

Is that a good deal?

Let’s bring back the Mustang for a second, not the Fox platform we mentioned earlier, but the one from today. For roughly $35,000, you can walk away with a Ford coupe that cranks out 460 hp to the rear wheels. Excluding some miracle, there is no way Toyota can offer to do that with the Supra. That doesn’t mean it won’t outshine the Mustang GT in terms of performance, but it will be a Japanese (kind-of European) car competing in roughly the same segment at a much higher price point. Which, incidentally, was what exactly was going on in the 1990s.

However, Ford probably won’t be the biggest threat to Toyota, nor will it dictate its final price. The real issue is the current state of the sports-car market. Performance vehicles aren’t status symbols anymore and have been largely replaced by more-profitable crossovers and trucks. That’s what makes Killmann’s mention of “limited production” so interesting.

While we hadn’t assumed the Supra would be replacing the RAV4 as Toyota’s new volume leader, we hadn’t heard any mention that Toyota would be considering it as a limited-run vehicle. If so, the company could theoretically charge an arm and a leg for it.


[Images: Toyota]

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63 Comments on “We Hope You’ve Been Saving Up for the Toyota Supra...”

  • avatar

    I really don’t get toyota’s these days. The 86 is a car with an expensive chassis, but has poorly match engine. Speaking strictly stock, a Civic Si, Golf GTI, Focus St, Mustang Ecoboost…I could go on, are all faster AND cheaper than the 86 both on the track and in real world driving. All are turbo, plenty of low end punch. Makes them easy to drive all the time, and really allows them to push you into the seat at nearly any speed you can reach on the road without going to jail. It’s a car that makes no sense. It’s expensive for what it offers stock, and yet you have to dump money into wheels, tires, and forced induction to take advantage of the superb chassis, making an already pricy car about as expensive as things like an STI, Golf R, Civic Type R etc…so it’s a car that makes no sense.

    Given that, I have exactly 0 hopes for the Supra being any different, just in a higher price bracket. It won’t be amazing enough to be a dream car. It will likely be so expensive that anyone considering it would also be considering various corvette models as well as high end Mustang and Camero models, and then other performance vehicles from Audi, BMW, and Merc.

    The question is, at the higher price bracket is the track performance and daily drivability there to match the price? I doubt it.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “the new model should be in the $48,000-$62,000 range”

    Which is about what MkIV turbos in decent shape go for these days. Interesting purchase dilemma there.

  • avatar

    >>Performance vehicles aren’t status symbols anymore<<

    I disagree with this, at least from what I see in the real world. A 911 or a super car is bound to draw way more attention than an Escalade. Heck even a Camaro/Mustang/Challenger in a wild color. But maybe that just shows my age.

    • 0 avatar

      They are definitely lower on the totem pole than similarly priced SUVs.

      This should have been a Lexus, and the Supra should have been an 86 with the 3.6 H6.

    • 0 avatar

      “A 911 or a super car is bound to draw way more attention than an Escalade. Heck even a Camaro/Mustang/Challenger in a wild color.”

      Roll a Raptor, just about any lifted 4X4 diesel pickup, or any nicely decked out Wrangler into a gas station where (fill in the blank) supercar is filling up, and see where the reaction from the gas attendants goes. If you live in a state that still has them (grins). This isn’t a new thing. Back in ’92, I remember filling up my new Electric Blue Z71. A Mercedes SL rolled in about the same time, and the driver came over a few minutes later to complain to the attendants that none of them had even motioned towards his car parked next to the pumps. He was miffed…. I lol’d.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know about “status”, but an expensive-ish performance car is still going to garner attention, even if no one is buying them for themselves.

      • 0 avatar

        100% true.

        I sincerely doubt many Raptor, Wrangler, or lifted diesel drivers are getting approached by strangers asking for photos at the gas station. It is literally close to 50% of the time when I’m driving my Viper.

        • 0 avatar

          Asking for a photo of a bro dozer would be like asking for a picture of a Civic here in SoCal. No one cares here unless it’s something not just anyone can buy and I don’t mean afford.

      • 0 avatar

        Depends. In my neighborhood, I see an Audi R8 (with a ski rack), a Ferrari, and two Maserati’s almost every day. Neighbor a couple blocks down has a Viper Green (sorry) Gallardo in the garage. At school in the pickup line, Escalades, Denalis, GL’s, X(whatevers) and Land Rovers are pretty generic. One dad has a ZR1… THAT car gets the looks, the rest are pretty invisible.

        • 0 avatar

          Since I moved to Daytona I’ve seen more high priced cars than I used to, but I hope to never get to the point in my life where I go “meh” when I see an exotic vehicle.

          Hell, I still get excited when I see something sort of mundane like a Q60 Red Sport or 60s Mustang. Anything that represents “people like cars” makes me happy.

          • 0 avatar

            You’d be surprised. I don’t even look in the window of the McClaren dealer when I walk by anymore. If it’s not an older exotic/classic/Concours car it doesn’t even register anymore.

  • avatar

    “For roughly $35,000, you can walk away with a Ford coupe that cranks out 460 hp to the rear wheels. Excluding some miracle, there is no way Toyota can offer to do that with the Supra.”

    Well, excluding some kind of miracle, there is no way Ford can offer to do that with the Mustang for $35,000, either – the 460 hp in the Mustang is at the crank, not the rear wheels.

    Also, I would take issue with this statement – “Performance vehicles aren’t status symbols anymore and have been largely replaced by more-profitable crossovers and trucks.”

    I think performance vehicles are still enough of a status symbol that for $48,000-$62,000, I would rather have my performance coupe say “BMW” rather than “Toyota.”

    • 0 avatar

      You will be able to get a 475 hp Bullitt for less than the Supra.

    • 0 avatar

      I own a BMW and I would rather by badge said Toyota.

      Compared to my Honda the BMW quality is garbage. My Honda has over 50k more miles and is from the same model year and it is not falling about like the BMW. Too bad Honda doesn’t offer a RWD sedan.

  • avatar

    Camaro performance at a Corvette price. Sounds like a typical Supra to me.

    Some rich tech Fast-and-Furious fans will buy one, that’s about it.

  • avatar

    Bah! All that’s needed is a lightweight coupe with a sorted suspension, a straight six or turbo four, and a 5-speed manual. They can build those cheaply enough. There just isn’t enough market for them, so they’re building track cars for semi-rich kids and well-to-do middle-agers who want to imagine they’re still young, and can’t afford a Ferrari.

    In fact, given the success in racing of the Neon, a lightweight coupe or small sedan with modifiable suspension and an optional high output engine would be even better, since the base model would have a large market. If you want to race it, the difference maker isn’t horsepower, it’s skill.

  • avatar

    Maybe this will put Toyota back in the drivers category.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    As much as I loved the Supras of old, in as much as they are rare today and it is always fun to catch site of some early 90’s nostalgia. The reason for the scarcity was always due to the pricing, they were stupid expensive and really did not have the brand cache at the time to warrant the pricing. I figure the new one, with requisite ADM assigned to the MSRP will push 6 figures. Now that people are ‘smarter’ the ones that are sold will immediately head to a storage facility near you only to come out periodically to be swapped at Barrett-Jackson auctions. Similar to the Ford GT.

  • avatar

    Am I the only one that thinks they should have just added 50-100hp to the 86 and called it a Supra from day one? Keep the price sub 30k and complete with the GTI and WRXs of the world.

    Better to swim in those waters then the already crowded performance market north of 30k. I don’t know if a Toyota Corvette is what the market really needs right now…

  • avatar

    But no manual transmission = absolutely no chance that I would ever even remotely consider buying one.

    It’s completely beyond me how Toyota could have spent so much time and money bringing back such an iconic name as the Supra, and then offers up some lame comments about how ‘Supra buyers don’t want a manual transmission’. Really? This one would.

    Yeah yeah, yeah, I know all the ‘numbers’, about how paddle shifters can change gears in 0.00001 of a second, faster than any human can, quicker lap times, etc. etc.

    I don’t care. I don’t buy cars for the ‘numbers’, for silly brag value at the bar. I buy cars for how they *feel* to drive, for how much fun they are. For this admittedly long in the tooth very old-school car guy, there’s just no substitute for the visceral, directly connected to your central nervous system feel of a good manual transmission.

    tallguy130, I’m totally with you on what the Supra could have, and should have, been – an 86/FRS with another 50-100 hp would have been perfect, and almost certainly would have cost far less to develop. But somehow, that idea either didn’t come to, or was lost on, the powers that be at Toyota.

    • 0 avatar

      The Supra has always been a big, heavy, relatively complex car though, a high powered 86 wouldn’t have been faithful to the name. And I can guarantee this new Supra will have a manual option at some point, probably one-year only, limited production, introduced as sales are languishing.

      I don’t think the Supra will cost THAT much. I predict it’ll cost 40-50k. Which is where the next Z car will also end up.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Supra buyers not wanting a manual certainly explains why not only manual MKIV’s have a huge price premium but even Gen 1 Sc300 with a stick command thousands more than automatics, even V8s.

  • avatar
    Leonard Ostrander

    Toyobaru had a great opportunity with the 86 and they nailed it. I love my 86 and i loved my previous 86. Those of us who regularly meet at well attended 86 club events love them as do those of us who autocross and/or track them. We are their more than satisfied target market and the short bus utility vehicle market is irrelevant.

    • 0 avatar

      Of course you love it, you bought two of them. It would suck if you didn’t love it.

      I found it to be about the most disappointing car I have ever driven. As I have said on here many times, it’s not that it isn’t fast enough, it is, it’s just not as fun as it should be. A Miata is slower but a LOT more fun.

      As for the new Supra, it shares a platform with a BMW, it was never, ever going to be cheap.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not that the 86 is a bad car, I would love to pick one up used, it’s that it could have been so much more. It was 50-100hp away from being a super hit and it could have been a greater inheritor of the celica or Supra name. The fact that they did so much right but lost the big picture is disappointing.

  • avatar

    They had the right idea at 1st. A Japanese Mustang.

    You don’t see Ford overthinking, overpricing, overcomplicating the Mustang into extinction. It’s not a exactly rocket science.

    It doesn’t matter how many times you explain to Japanese automakers how to do the Japanese F-150, they come up with something else.

    • 0 avatar

      Well said and I agree with your sentiments 100%.

      However, I do think they got close to something interesting with the latest Ridgeline. I mean, they still failed, but they got closer.

      I will give the big H credit for the new Civic Si Coupe. It looks good, its fun to drive, and it undercuts a Mustang on price and running costs.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    is it a 2+2?

  • avatar

    No, I’ve had a Supra Turbo, and while it was the second favorite car I’ve owned, my current A5 is my favorite. For similar money as the Supra, I expect I will get an S5 when it comes time to replace my ten year old Audi. On the other hand, I may have to keep my current car running forever, as it has a manual.

  • avatar

    The first-gen Supra’s biggest engine made 116 hp and had a 0–60 mph time of 10.24 seconds and ran a 1/4-mile in 17.5 seconds. What it had were those fancy power locks, nice seats, and an optional trip computer. A touring car.

    That’s almost identical to today’s Prius performance, but not nearly as fast as the Yaris.

    The 86 goes 0-60 in 6.4 sec and 1/4 mile in 14.9 sec. More in line with the Supra turbos.

    • 0 avatar

      ….Which neatly explains the current fate of the sports/sporty/performance car markets.

      1) Sports cars are NOT performance cars. They at one point were. But general availability of grippier tires and more efficient in day to day use hi-power engines, separated the two as cleanly as the Atlantic once separated America from Eurafrica. Starting with the 3 Series and it’s insane success across every dimension a car can possibly be successful in, “Performance” cars are now designed to be driven at minivan speeds by the target market, and at high speeds around Burgerking by a few journalists. While sports cars are still cars that allow the experience of approaching-limits, along with attendant mechanicalness, at said minivan speeds. Meaning, they are by now by necessity “slower” than the average family crossover.

      2) Why Toyobaru stuck “Prius” tires, on one of the last sports cars still left. Anything grippier, and you’d need a less communicative, stiffer and “better” controlled suspension, along with more power, to approach anything resembling limits. Rendering limit approaching something most, in practice, would pretty much never do. Guys who track their 86s can still “upgrade” their car, as the chassis can easily handle the upgrades. But then you have a street legal, but not street optimized, track car. Cr ‘cross car. Or a race car. No longer a sports car.

  • avatar

    This car will have Toyota performance at a BMW price… with BMW depreciation, and some of that legendary “German engineering” added to the mix.

    Toyota, what are you DOING??!!

    • 0 avatar

      Right?!I lost interest in the car the second I found out it’s a joint project with BMW. Had BMW designed the suspension, you’d worry about having to replace ball joints, sub frames and other components after 100,000 miles of driving on smooth, Autobahn-like roads. Using their engine means that you’ll have to worry about timing chain related failures, rod or crank bearing issues, coolant problems, etc. Compare that with the MKIV Supra’s inline-six that lets you bolt on a bigger turbo, double the horsepower and still outlast its owner as long as they keep fresh oil and coolant in it….and replace the timing belt every 60,000-100,000 miles. Toyota has designed some of the world’s best engines (1UZ-FE, 3S-GTE, 2JZ-GTE, 5VZ-FE, etc.) and is one of the world’s most profitable automaker. Sharing the development of the Supra with another automaker is such a cheap cop-out. Very disappointing.

      • 0 avatar

        Also lost interest in Supra after learning about BMW; and I don’t hate BMW, they have made some compelling performance cars issues aside. Yet imagine Chevrolet using Porsche chassis and engine for next Corvette. Such a contraption wouldn’t be a bad car, it would probably be a very good one. It would also be incredibly wrong. That’s kind of what Toyota is doing with this Supra.

    • 0 avatar

      When I was a kid my parents had an 85 Supra, and I’ve driven a 335i for the last 10 years. I’ve always considered it the modern equivalent of the Supra, but I JUST sold it (to my parents, who missed the old Supra). The reason I sold it is because reliability and operating costs suck compared to something like a Supra.

      So, this car will drive like a Supra, but the point of the Mark IV Supra was supercar performance with Toyota reliability. This car will have German reliability and operating cost with all the cachet and styling of a Toyota. Why would anyone buy this over a 335i or Z4?

      A Porsche 911 based Corvette is a great analogy. You lose the advantages of a Corvette, so why would anybody buy that instead of just buying a 911?

  • avatar

    Artificial constraints of “limited run” vehicle means Toyota will sell every one they make. The economies of scale baked into this Z4/Supra development cycle will make it easy for both manufacturers to make their money back. So what if it cost the same as a Cayman of Vette? It’s going to be a contender. BMW likes to make contenders. Sure, Toyota has clearly forgotten how to make a decent sports car. They phoned a German friend to help remind them.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I know the market probably isn’t there nowadays, but I feel the Supra should be based on the 86 (which should be a Celia) while this car should be the Lexus SC.

    I didn’t care for the MKIV Supra, but I thought the Gen 1 SC was one of the best looking cars to come out of the 90s.

  • avatar

    The Supra is dead on arrival, especially if there’s no manual option. Good luck trying to modify a modern BMW engine; one that’s designed to last for one lease period of 36,000 miles. Five people will buy this and do something with it, and the rest will just be another automatic 2-door corolla bumbling around.

    • 0 avatar
      The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

      Uh, the tuning scene for the N54 & N55 engine has been very active for a decade. Tons of power available there.

  • avatar

    And no doubt dealers will further turn off numerous prospective buyers with 10-20k adjusted market value to account for (fake) demand, then add $1.2k window tint and $400 nitrogen.

  • avatar

    I don’t get it…this car is the worst of both worlds. You get the reliability and operating cost of a German car with the cachet and styling of a Japanese car. Why would anyone buy this over a Z4?

  • avatar

    I think Lexus kind of makes a Supra pointless. Any premium performance car should be wearing an “L” on the front. Who wants to go into a Toyota dealership to spend 60 grand on a sports car? Toyota might have had some leftover high-end performance role back in the 90s when the two brands were still sorting themselves out, but that time has passed.

  • avatar

    So I guess Toyota decided that the V10 and carbon chassis from the Mark V Supra was too expensive for this new Mark VI.

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