New Toyota Supra previewed at Geneva

Article John McIlroy Stuart Milne James Howe Chris Haining
Mar 6, 2018
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Gazoo's GR Supra Racing Concept hints at production version

Toyota"s Geneva Motor Show stand features a racing-car concept that provides the clearest clues yet as to how the long-awaited new Toyota Supra will look.

Toyota"s flagship sports coupe left UK showrooms at the end of the 1990s, but is still fondly regarded by enthusiasts, who"ve long wished for its return. The GR Supra Racing Concept brings this prospect one step closer, while leaked specification details suggest a 330bhp six-cylinder petrol engine will provide power.

Video of 2018 Toyota Supra racing concept walkaround and interior – Geneva Motor Show

Presented in the bold white, red and black livery of Toyota"s Gazoo Racing factory team, there"s a production car lurking under those outlandish spoilers, scoops and skirts. The GR Supra Racing concept may have taken the place of the expected production version at Geneva, but the Japanese brand is still committed to “bring back its most celebrated sports car” later this year. And Gran Turismo Sport players will be able to "drive" the concept in the game very soon.

GR Supra Racing concept design

The concept appears every inch a racer, with its harnesses, full roll cage and competition-ready fuel and brake lines, battery and wiring system. It sits on special BBS alloy wheels wrapped in uncompromising Michelin tyres. However, under its racing get-up, the concept still boasts its original suspension system and its basic structure is virtually the same as what will reach the showroom.

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Strip away the extra-aggressive bumpers, front splitter and rear diffuser, and fit a glass windscreen and side windows in place of the show car"s plastic panels, and the GR Racing Concept is close to the car that you"ll be able to buy. Its front-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout follows established Supra tradition, albeit brought up to date with strong, lightweight materials.

The Gazoo Racing livery emphasises the Supra"s position as Toyota’s sporty flagship, joining the Toyota Yaris GRMN in the stable. Insiders suggest that the production version of the new Supra will be available in four key versions: Supra, Supra GR, Supra GR Sport and Supra GRMN, each with increased power and more aggressive chassis settings – and Gazoo badges could grace the car in place of Toyota emblems.

Carbuyer understands Gazoo – Toyota’s high-performance and motorsport division – was called upon during development to make sure the new Supra was as exciting to drive as possible. “The new car has to appeal to existing [Supra] owners first,” said Gazoo Racing boss Shigeki Tomoyama, speaking to Carbuyer at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. “The old cars had a straight-six engine, twin turbochargers and rear-wheel drive; the new car has to have the same philosophy.”

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Engines and performance

It"s no secret that the Supra will share its engineering fundamentals with the next-generation BMW Z4, but the Toyota will only be offered as a coupe. The Z4, meanwhile, will have a convertible roof, and is expected to hit showrooms a little earlier than the Supra.

The two models could also differ under the bonnet. The VW Vortex forum hosted pages scanned from Japan"s Best Car magazine, which revealed a 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged engine for Japanese-spec cars. The article suggested 330bhp and short bursts of extra pulling power available through an "overboost" facility and a 0-62mph time of 3.8 seconds. Best Car mentioned an eight-speed automatic gearbox, but no mention of a manual option was made.

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The scanned information also outlined the Supra"s dimensions, at 4.38m long, 1.86m wide and 1.29m tall, with a 2.47m wheelbase, and there are rumours that the BMW Z4 will be slightly smaller overall, positioned as an outright sports car next to the more versatile Supra. It"s also unclear whether the Toyota engine will be shared by BMW, or whether the German company will use its own 3.0-litre six-cylinder and 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines for the Z4.

On sale date

No word has been given on when the Supra will reach showrooms, but the closely related BMW Z4 is expected to go on sale first. We expect Supra order books to open during the course of 2019. When it goes on sale, Gazoo is set to support the Supra with aftermarket tuning parts, as with other models such as the Yaris GRMN.

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