New Toyota Supra: all the latest on the 2018 sports car

Toyota Supra design previewed in exclusive images ahead of planned launch in 2018.

Sixteen years after it went out of production, the Toyota Supra is due for a comeback in 2018 – and our exclusive images preview how it could look when it goes on sale.

The new flagship Toyota sports car is expected to arrive in 2018 and is being developed in conjunction with BMW – it’ll share its platform with the German marque’s upcoming Z4 replacement.

The car is likely to borrow some design aspects from the FT-1, Toyota’s 2014 concept car. Underneath the camo it appears the production Supra borrows the FT-1 concept’s strong central nose, jutting out from beyond the bonnet. It sits above a new front bumper with three large air intakes.

The latest testing spy shots at the Nurburgring show a bit more of the coupe’s profile too, as well as the fixed ‘ducktail’ spoiler. A Pair of small taillights sit below it – a nod to the original Supra – while two large exhaust exits poke out on each corner of the rear bumper, similar to the GT86.

An enthusiast’s favourite, the last Supra went out of production in 2002, so the return of the iconic name is big news. Earlier this year we learnt that Toyota and BMW were to partner up and develop an all-new sports car together, which we now know will be the new Supra and the replacement for the Z4

This test mule also features a hard-top rather than the Z4’s fabric roof, and it’s believed that the Supra will be strictly offered only as coupe.

Hybrid power on the cards for new Supra

Senior Toyota sources have also given the strongest hint yet that the company’s new Supra sports car could feature hybrid power.

The new Supra is likely to sit above the GT86 when it arrives in 2018. The cooperation between Toyota and BMW is said to have focused on chassis development, so engine and transmission choices will likely differ – and that’s where the possibility of a Toyota petrol/electric hybrid engine comes in.

When asked if Toyota’s quest to have a hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle in every market sector would extend to sports cars, Toyota Europe president and CEO Johan van Zyl said: “I would imagine that in the future that will definitely happen.” “We already have some sporting models with hybrid powertrains on the Lexus side. But on the Toyota side, I think we will find that if we can have a World Endurance Championship racing car with hybrid technology, it can happen on a road car.”

He added: “I do not have any doubt whatsoever that in the longer-term future there will be a real Toyota sports model using electrification.”

Earlier in 2016, Toyota made new trademark applications in Europe and the US for the Supra name, casting a fresh spotlight on the project. BMW and Toyota announced their joint venture all the way back in 2011 – declaring hydrogen fuel cells, shared battery tech and a new sports car platform were included in the deal.

While the BMW Z4 and new Supra will take advantage of the shared technology, the Supra will likely be the bigger car of the two. That will allow the Supra to sit above the GT86 model that’s already a key part of the Toyota line-up, and offer much more in terms of performance.

Rumours suggest the new Supra will come fitted with a straight-six engine from BMW’s powertrain stable, forgoing the four-cylinder engines of lesser Z4s. Whatever the engine the Supra’s ace card should come in the form of hybrid-electric tech to boost performance.

It’s likely that the Toyota hybrid tech will have much in common with its Le Mans race cars. The new sports car will use electric motors on the front and rear axle, with a petrol engine driving the rear wheels. Electric power will come from regenerative braking, and will be stored in a lithium ion battery. This will allow both brands to eventually offer plug-in hybrid versions of their new sports cars.

Interestingly, the system will implement Toyota’s first-ever dual-clutch transmission, in place of the CVT gearboxes we’re accustomed to in existing Toyota and Lexus hybrids.

By designing the motors in-house, and taking advantage of BMW’s carbon-fibre reinforce plastic weight-saving methods, Toyota is thought to be targeting a kerbweight of less than 1,400kg. However, it’s expected that the BMW will be the lighter of the two models. Both cars are expected to debut only a few months apart, but expect the Z4 to break cover first at the end of 2017.

 

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