Toyota's FT-1 concept is closing in on production debut
Finally, evidence in the streets. The fact that Toyota and BMW had already confirmed collaboration on a next-generation sports platform was one thing. But, until now, the latter company’s offering was the only one to have been spied out in the open.
BMW’s half of the project, dubbed ‘Z5’ in the press for lack of a more obvious name, has been spied testing at least twice this year, but these new photos mark our first look at the new coupe believed to be the hotly anticipated 2018 Toyota Supra.
Although heavily camouflaged, the coupe shown here bears more than a passing resemblance to the FT-1 concept revealed in early 2014 and showcased again some eight months later.
This new car appears a more compact design than the FT-1, however – and even the Mk4 Supra that last graced showrooms in 2002 – suggesting Toyota’s goal this time is to produce a more nimble and athletic offering than the power-focused grand tourer that came before it.
Little of the new car’s front-end styling can be seen here, but the FT-1’s lines are evident in the roofline, glasshouse and rear end – particularly in the sharp integrated lip atop the hatch lid.
A single obscured shot of the cabin can also be seen, revealing BMW stalks behind the wheel and a unique instrument cluster design.
The steering wheel appears related to BMW themes, although not identical to any existing tillers. It remains to be seen if any of these components will feature in the final car, however.
Reports published in July pointed to a powertrain that would feature a BMW engine matched to a Toyota-developed hybrid system – the latter undoubtedly a strength of the Japanese car maker.
It is also possible that, like the larger and architecturally unrelated Lexus LC500 and 500h models, the so-called Supra could be offered in both conventional combustion and petrol-electric forms.
The electric system is expected to come in the form of two torque-vectoring motors at the front and a third unit at the rear, contributing to an all-wheel drive layout.
But, if Toyota skips electrification, we could at least expect the engine range to focus on petrol four- and six-cylinder units, all turbocharged.
Depending on configuration, power figures upwards of 260kW have been reported in the Japanese and European press. With a target weight just south of 1400kg also reported, any power figure beyond 200kW is sure to satisfy.
As for the Supra name… that’s still to be confirmed, but Toyota’s lead engineer for sports cars told CarAdvice in August that he and his colleagues are all pushing for the Supra name – and that’s good enough for us.