Sports Car

Toyota Says Supra Will Be 'Quite Different' From BMW Z4

Yes, this back and forth is killing us, too.

Another day, another tidbit about a forthcoming sports car we likely won't see until next winter. Thanks for the 2018 Geneva Auto Show last week, it seems like everyone and their dog got a chance to ask Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer on Supra, any question they wanted. This time, it was Evo's turn to publish its grilling of the Toyota engineer—though, to be fair, this is Evo we're talking about here, and at least it tried to lift some specifics on the car while they had Supraman's attention.

“Unlike the GT86 co-developed with Subaru, with BMW we first decided on the concept of the car that each company would like to develop separately,” explained Tada-san. “Once these concepts were clear we looked into which parts could be common between the two projects - and the number of common parts and elements are much fewer than many may imagine.” But how different will the two cars be from one another, especially when they'll both be using the same BMW inline-six? “From our side Toyota wanted to make a pure sports car, and BMW has a slightly different direction,” he said.

“Engine calibration is quite different between the two cars. Even if the hardware is the same in some elements, the calibration is completely different—the driving experience will be very different to the Z4.” Still, Tada put up roadblocks on some of Evo's more common questions. Manual transmission? “We’re still in discussion about these details, so we don’t know what the final production car will use yet.” What about a hybrid? “... not only hybrid but also other powertrain tech, EVs, fuel cells etc. We’re looking at all these possibilities for our future sports cars.”

Evo did strike a nugget of gold at the end of the interview, however. “When asked if Toyota would encourage owners to make their Supras their own through modification, Tada replied, “Just as with the 86, we have the same message with the new car—we’d really like people to tune the car themselves.” And the aftermarket might be the best judge of just how far to take it, according to Supraman. “It’s difficult to define what is a brand or maker-approved modification. It was a concern we had with the GT86, but once it was launched on the market we learned that users on the market have quite high standards and respect the car, so the aftermarket developed on its own.I hope the same will happen with the Supra.”

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