We Hope You've Been Saving Up for the Toyota Supra

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • TMA1 TMA1 on Apr 18, 2018

    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.

  • OneAlpha OneAlpha on Apr 18, 2018

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

  • Rando [h2]Coincidentally, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is more than $41k as well -.-[/h2]
  • Ajla "Gee, wonder why car (as well as home) insurance rates are much higher in places like Florida..." Severe weather is on the list but even if a benevolent genie reverted the climate to circa 1724 I think FL would still have high cost. Our home insurance rates have increased 102% since 2021 and I don't think weather models account for that much of a change in that period. Florida's insurance assignment of benefit regulation meant that it had ~80% of the country's of the insurance lawsuits on ~12% of the nation's claims and litigated claims can be expensive to insurance companies. The state altered some regulations and is having some success on getting more companies back, even with the severe weather risks, through relatively bipartisan efforts. With car insurance just beyond the basic "Florida" stuff, the population increase of the past few years is overwhelming the roads. But, I think the biggest thing is we have very low mandated car insurance levels. Only $10K personal injury and $10K property damage. No injury liability needed. And 20% of the state has no insurance. So people that actually want insurance pay out the nose. Like I commented above my under/uninsured coverage alone is 2.5x my comprehensive & collision.
  • Juan Let's do an 1000 mile drive and see who gets there first.
  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.