How should we feel about the new Supra?
The A90 Supra will soon be launched in 2019, so it's time to gather our thoughts...
The world rejoiced when they heard Toyota is making the new Supra. We first heard that Toyota has patented the Supra name, which got people excited already, then we saw the gorgeous FT-1. It looks like everything is ready to go. Then we heard the collaboration between BMW and Toyota, which pissed purists no-end. Then we saw spy shots of the Supra near the 'Ring, which looks very much like the Z4, only worse looking.
Petrolheads have experienced such ups and downs about the Supra, that we'd almost get emotionless when we read any news about the new Supra. We're immune to the Supra already. What's all the fuss about?
I myself never digged the A80 Supra that everybody constantly crave on about, I find it too heavy to be a sports car; I find the styling pig-like which is not something people would want; and I find people who likes them a bit…thick-skinned, they constantly go on and on about the wonders of the 2JZ, how the power can go up without spending much, and how reliable those angry stallions can come out of the rear wheels. That's the bit which confuses me the most, it's the engine that made the car great, so just buy an engine and slap it in whatever car you fancy. Hence the trend of 2J swaps.
The A90 Supra on the other hand, hasn't got a 2JZ twin-turbocharged engine, nor has it got a manual gearbox, what it does have is a drivetrain from BMW. The B58C engine from BMW, an eight-speed ZF slushbox and an M-Sport limited slip differential, according to the Supra MKIV forum, which coincidentally is the forum that leaked the front-end of the A90 Supra not camouflaged. It's not what you call 'Toyota' right. So on paper, it's a BMW Supra that somehow wears a Toyota badge.
What's worse, is that part of what made the Supra great has gone missing: the driver focused dashboard. Toyota have stuck with the same dashboard layout as you'd find in a BMW, of which the buttons, knobs and switches would not tilt towards the driver, as per the previous generation.
In summary, it's just a BMW Z4 with the Z gone missing and a Supra badge just stuck on for nostalgic reasons. It's not a Toyota at all.
However, facts may prove us very wrong. Last time Toyota collaborated with another company, they gave the motoring world a name we all love:86. Specifically the birth of the GT86, the spiritual successor of the tofu delivery AE86. That car had a Subaru engine, Subaru gearbox, Subaru differential and Prius tyres for goodness sake.
But, the end result was something of a marvel. On twisty mountain road, it'd leave any supercar to death, because of the level of confidence you get from the wheel and your bum. The engine might not be the torquest thing in the world, but all of it's goodies are up top, which means you need to rev the nuts off it to make anything happen. Which means you'd be going up and down the gears all the time. And that dramatises the whole driving experience. It makes your drive alive.
Looking back at Toyota's past sports cars, you'll see the Supra is not the only car that's got an engine from somewhere else. Toyota's first ever sports car, the 2000GT, had an engine from Yamaha, so did the Lexus LFA, which is arguably the best car ever, so did the AE86 that led the legend of the GT86 in the first place.
You can see that Toyota likes to collaborate with companies that makes engines better than they can, because frankly, their own engines aren't all that great.
However, what that also means, is that they can focus on making the rest of the car better. The suspension setup on the GT86 is different compared to the BRZ, the GT86 is much more livelier than the BRZ. That makes the GT86 better of the twin.
If Toyota can replicate what they did with the GT86, and simply add some more power, I honestly don't see why the new Supra would fail. It's got a BMW inline 6, which is arguably the best in the business, and what's wrong with having a BMW engine? It's like saying you don't like that house because it looks the same as the other houses. It just would not matter. Plus, Tetsuya Tada, the mastermind behind the A90 Supra, said that they expect people to buy the Supra just to swap in the 2JZ. So they're going to offer a 4 banger which allows you to yank the lump out easier with more room, and cheaper too.
One thing though, remember the dip-stick BMW, and your indicator stalk, and leave your angel eyes please.