Toyota is still studying powertrain options for the upcoming Supra, with a hybrid and more ‘evolved’ internal-combustion engine well and truly on the cards.
The Supra, co-developed with the new BMW Z4, will almost certainly make use of BMW powertrain and transmission technology when it launches mid- to late-next year, but may come with specific Toyota powertrains in future.
Speaking to media at the Geneva motor show today, Tetsuya Tada, the man behind the Supra and Toyota 86, confirmed the vehicle will make use of a BMW-sourced inline-six turbo at launch, but said other variants with different powertrains – including hybrid – are currently under evaluation.
“For powertrains and transmissions, we live in an age where there is a major technological shift for cars for these different kinds of technologies and you’re seeing different options that are competing with each other,” Tada said.
“Unfortunately we are at a stage that we do not know what is the best option that we should be adopting.”
The move to sell a hybrid Supra would not be surprising, considering Toyota’s global initiative to hybridise the majority of its models. It remains to be seen what hybrid powertrain it would adopt with the Supra platform, considering its limited size and space.
“In case of powertrain for Toyota, that is why because of [the fact that] we are living in such a time, we are looking into the options of hybrid, more evolved versions of gasoline engines or electric vehicles, we are looking at all options. And I think we need more time to decide what technology is best for a future sports car.
“Obviously we have decided on the specification of the first car that will be released into the market, but as you already know sports car does not stop evolving once it launches into the market. A sports car needs to continue evolving every year. We are preparing for the initial launch but at the same time we have in mind the further evolution of the car.”
What about a four-cylinder Supra? That also appears to be under study and may come at a later date to serve as a price leader once the initial rush for the higher-spec six-cylinder model dies down.
“We are also aware of various rumours and speculations [regarding four-cylinder models], the answer is that we are working on and looking into the research and development of different and all sorts of variants but it hasn’t been decided as to which one will finally go into production and I think we still have time and opportunity to decide as to which option [to go for] today before the launch,” Tada added.
We believe the new Toyota Supra will launch in later part of next year with Australian almost certainly confirmed as one of the target markets for the long-awaited sports car.