When fans heard that Toyota was bringing its flagship sports coupe out of retirement, bells began ringing. Finally, after a 17-year hiatus, the Supra would live to break hearts (and necks) once again. but there was just one problem—the fifth-generation Supra wasn't the Japanese hellraiser that everyone expected. Instead, Toyota teamed up with the makers of the ultimate driving machine, BMW, to create what critics are calling a parts-bin car. Now, it turns out that without said help from the Germans, the Supra would've cost as much as $100,000.
The truth is hidden deep within a Jalopnik interview with the Supra's chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada. The goal of the A90 Supra project was to create an attainable sports car for the average Joe, something that Toyota achieved by making the MSRP of the new Supra nearly $5,000 less than than a base-trim C7 Corvette.
“To make the car so expensive would defeat the purpose of a Toyota sports car,” said Tada. “That’s why it doesn’t use exotic materials like carbon fiber.”
Furthermore, Tada stressed that teaming up with BMW to create the underpinnings for the Supra and Z4 ended before the design phase. It was essential that the Supra had a stout inline-six, and Tada loved the thought of BMW's roaring B58 being the heart of its new car. Inversely, Toyota purists almost immediately rejected the BMW powerplant in favor of the A80 Supra's 2JZ, an engine which established a reputation for basically being able to withstand a nuclear blast.
Realistically, Toyota had three options when developing the new Supra:
- Electrify the sports coupe.
- Engineer an all-new inline-six which was purpose-built for the A90.
- Team up with another OEM for an engine already vetted to perform.
As we know, Toyota went with the third option.
The brand could've opted for electrification, but that might have made enthusiasts even more apprehensive about purchasing a vehicle that strayed even further from the coattails of the previous-generation Supra's glory. Developing an all-new powerplant wasn't out of the question, but it would almost certainly drive up the price point of the Supra, something which Tada didn't necessarily want.
All things considered, the new Supra is more than just hype. Despite the BMW footings and lack of a third pedal, the car is equipped with a vigorous straight-six and maintains flowing body lines similar to the 2000GT. But perhaps most importantly, it's the rebirth of a car that the public begged for nearly two decades to have reincarnated: the Supra.