Toyota of Mexico just unwittingly unveiled the worst kept secret that’s not the C8 Corvette. The video thankfully re-uploaded by people who have nothing better to do, shows us exactly what we’ve seen. The car’s smooth haunches, duckbill rear spoiler, odd Praying Mantis face, and a sweet but unmistakably BMW engine note. And here’s the thing. I actually like it. I’ll cross the line everyone’s afraid to. I like it MORE than the original. Here’s the video by the way. Intellectual property rights be damned.
In the late 90s and early 2000s I was a young and impressionable child, ripe pickings to be influenced by the now cliche "Fast and F̶u̶r̶r̶y̶ Furious" films. Albeit a few years short of the intended demographic, it makes me the perfect person now in my twenties to be your run of the mill 2J worshiping, snapback wearing, “What kind of vape is this?”, basic bro. But I’m not. The 2JZ is a nice motor. I don’t hate it. The mark IV Supra is a nice car. I don’t hate it either. With the announcement of the new Mark V, I’ve heard nothing but disdain from journalists and friends alike. The resounding sentiment seems to be, “Ehhh, It’s not a real supra, no 2J bro.” Followed by a subsequent cloud of fruity vape to the face. In a way this echos people’s opinion of the now aging “new” NSX. And with NSX I’d agree. It's a wild departure from the old. The Supra isn’t. Here’s why…
Two seat coupe, check. Sensual lines and curvy haunches that make you want to do the dirty with it, also check. Inline six, perfect weight distribution, and not a hybrid... check, check and THANK GOD. So what’s the problem? Why does everyone hate it? It’s a true to form rendition of everything that was good about the original. Despite the fact a manual mansmission is currently MIA, it’s still the honest sports car of old. -Remember too, many Mark IVs were equipped with a slushy autoblandic trans. Not to mention, everyone seems to like the auto only R35 GTR just fine. If you’re like me and need a stick in your hand (only dirty if you think it is), then rest assured because one for the Mark V has already been developed. Just a matter of getting it through Toyota's collective brain that what we really want is a standard. Once that happens, all will be balanced in the universe.
That brings us back to the first and top complaint. Not a 2JZ. And to that, I say don’t worry about it. BMW, and it’s occasionally questionable reliability has been building straight sixes for the better part of the past century. And without it, it’s likely we’d never see a new Supra. Manufacturers like Toyota are in the business of making money, and at risk of sounding cliche, what sells in 2019 is crossovers. Turbo fours and hybrid gobbledygook is all that consumers want. It’s because us car enthusiasts haven’t done a decent job convincing our normie friends to buy cool cars.
For a make like Toyota to manufacture a sports car, it needs to share a ton of parts to keep costs low and profits high. They know (and so do their shareholders) that sports cars sales make up the minority of the market. Cross platform compatibility is what makes cars like the Supra possible. Toyota of the 90s achieved this using the 2JZ because it was originally intended to span a wide range of cars. By that logic however, Toyota today should use one of the wacky V8s from the Lexus IS line. Unfortunately, that wouldn't be true to the Supra’s heritage and they knew it. Thanks to current regulation and how it differs from 30 years ago, re-use of the 2JZ is likely impossible, Making a bespoke engine for a single car also is out of the question. Sure the LFA had a unique V10, but it also cost $400K and lost Toyota money. Just like the GT86 with Subaru, they did the next best thing by reaching out to BMW as one of the only companies making a modern inline six.
In my not so humble opinion, the new Supra will be fine, and no it won’t make 1000hp. Never did anyways. That task was up to the tuners of old, and just like the last they'll figure it out with this one too. To boot, 99 percent of those making complaints never owned the Mark IV and will likely never own the new Mark V. In five years and through steady depreciation, hopefully I can afford to not be one of them. Because damn as it sits, I really like the new Supra.