Tetsuya Tada is the point man for Toyota's sports cars, which lately have been developed jointly with other automakers. The Toyota 86 is a badge-engineered Subaru BRZ and the all-new 2020 Supra shares a platform with the BMW Z4. It was Tada's job to make sure Toyota's versions of those cars reflected its own brand identity and performance aspirations. In an interview with Autoblog, Tada has made it clear that Toyota has even higher aspirations for the Supra.
The Supra's version of the B58 BMW inline-six produces 335 horsepower, but Tada anticipates, in fact, promises, more powerful versions. "With a sports car, the promise is to offer more performance with each additional version," he said. The higher performance will not just be about more power. Chassis upgrades like carbon-ceramic brakes are expected. Don't, however, expect a stick shift on the new Supra.
Tada said, "Customers who want a manual should choose the Toyota 86."
You also shouldn't get your hopes up for a soft-top Supra. While the platform can obviously be produced in convertible form—the Z4 is a roadster, after all—reading between the lines of Tada's remarks, one can assume that BMW probably wants to keep the open-top version to itself.
"The relationship between the Supra and the Z4 resembles the relationship between the Porsche Cayman and Boxster," Tada suggested.
Autoblog speculates that the Supra could get as much as a 50-horsepower boost when it gets a mid-cycle refresh in two or three years. That would more or less put it on par with the Z4's 382 horsepower, though Tada would not confirm any exact figures. It has been rumored that the Supra might eventually get the 500+ hp S58 version of the BMW six that will be in the upcoming M3 and M4, or the 444-hp B55 that comes in the current M3/M4, but BMW has said that so far Toyota hasn't yet expressed interest in those motors.
Tada did leave the door wide open for a number of future Supra variants. “We have many ideas,” he said.