Toyota boss keen to bring back 'Supra' name
Toyota’s upcoming sports car is widely anticipated to revive the Supra nameplate, and while not locked in, the company’s chief engineer says he – and his colleagues – like to see that happen.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the international media drive for the facelifted Toyota 86 range, Tetsuya Tada, the company’s global chief engineer, said he wants the upcoming sports car – co-developed with BMW — to be named Supra.
“I love the Supra and I love the name Supra,” Tada-san said.
“It’s historically important to Toyota. We’re pushing for the name Supra for the new car we are [jointly] developing with BMW.”
Speaking on the Japanese giant’s collaboration with the Bavarian luxury marque, Tada-san said the partnership between the two companies has gone well so far, while extensive testing and development of the new vehicles has been conducted all around the world.
“I’d say the partnership is going well, very smooth,” he said. “We’re testing all over the world too, not just Fuji or Nürburgring, but all [around] the world.”
Despite their common origins, the BMW 'Z5' and Toyota Supra are set to have very different personalities, with the German car to have a more upmarket grand-tourer flavour while Japan’s entrant will be a more sports-focused offering, pitched as a performance flagship.
While Toyota’s car will sit above the 86 and be a successor to the original Supra (whether it wears the iconic name or not), BMW’s model is expected to replace the ageing Z4 sports car.
Tada-san agreed the two cars need to maintain their own identities, further supporting the claims the Z5 and Supra will share little more than their platforms and development process.
No prototypes of the Supra have been spotted testing yet, however, mules for the Z4 replacement – or ‘Z5’ – were snapped during cold weather testing earlier this year.
Reports a fortnight ago indicated the reborn Supra is scheduled for a 2018 launch, shortly after BMW’s sports car is released sometime in 2017.
The last Toyota Supra rolled off the production line in 2002, meaning a 2018 release would mark 16 years since the previous model was built.
- James Wong and Trent Nikolic, caradvice.com.au