Last produced in 2002, and last available in North America in 1998, the Supra was Toyota’s flagship performance car. Toyota has carried on without a halo model since, but concept cars and camouflaged prototypes over the last few years have hinted at the eventual return of the adored rear-drive sports car. Finally, after a 16-year hiatus, we now have our best look yet at the next-generation Supra, courtesy of the GR Supra racing concept revealed at the Geneva Motor Show.
Take away some of the flare of the fenders, close the grille opening a bit, remove the wing, and in the metal is the production Supra we’ve all been waiting to see. Styling is clearly based on the FT-1 concept Toyota showed at the 2014 North American International Auto Show, with a double-bubble roof skin and the overall shape of the greenhouse surviving fully intact. The headlights share the same basic shape as the concept’s although they’ve been stretched slightly taller to be more practical while still remaining sporty. A pronounced decklid also survived from the concept, which reminds us a bit of the current BMW Z4. The leading edge of the GR Supra has lost the protruding proboscis of the concept, thankfully. While the concept’s nose did conjure up images of Formula 1 cars and Le Mans prototypes, it also just looked, well, like a nose.
The production version of the Supra is being developed jointly with BMW, and the latter’s version of this new platform will underpin the next Z4. (BMW will reveal the Z4 this summer, and it will be a soft-top convertible unlike the coupe-only Supra.) At first this may seem a bit like an odd pairing, but in addition to the Supra’s road course prowess and tremendous brakes, it was also known for its inline-six engine, and BMW knows a thing or two about those. For an entire generation of enthusiasts, the Supra moniker is synonymous with the 3.0-liter inline-six engine used in its final generation, the twin-turbocharged 2JZ. The 2JZ proved to be incredibly popular with drag racers for its ability to swallow boost and churn out horsepower, often triple its 320-horsepower rating or more.
We don’t know what to expect from the new Supra’s turbo inline-six engine as far as power output goes, but it will share its engine with a high-output version of the new Z4, both of which are rumored to use exclusively use dual-clutch automatic transmissions. A version of the Supra with a Toyota-supplied hybrid-electric system is also a possibility.
Interest in the final U.S. versions of the Supra is steadily rising, in part riding the wave of Supra nostalgia fueled by Toyota’s upcoming reboot. It seems like the pent-up demand for a Toyota GT/sports car with serious performance (sorry, GT86) will finally get an outlet and Toyota’s family car image will get a sporty boost. The last-generation Supra left big, twin-turbocharged shoes to fill, but this concept shows it may have what it takes to do the badge proud.