Following the trail of the Toyota/BMW coupe/roadster project has yielded an interesting enough journey, if one that’s slow to burn. With the Germans, we already know that we should be expecting a successor to the Z4 as previously announced. And with the outing of a concept car, we can even make educated guesses about how it looks.
The parallel path that Toyota is leading is a fair bit more narrow and mysterious, though. While plenty of spy footage and photographs exist of the coupe, we still don’t even have confirmation that it will be called the Supra as many, including us, believe it should be. The only leads we have relate to the FT-1 concept car from 2014; a car that could form a possible design basis given it’s similar layout and the proximity in announcement timing.
Some, though, were expecting all this mist to clear at the Detroit Motor Show, due to take place in January 2018. And while there might not be a production-ready car to show off by then, the public could at least get a much clearer picture of where Toyota are going with their sportier ambitions, likely even generating enough interest to further spur on the project and its underlying objectives.
Because the FT-1 concept reignited the conversation around Toyota venturing back into proper sports car territory (well, besides the 86), it would only be fitting that the finished - or near-finished - ‘Supra’ would make its entrance at the same venue; it’ll be poetic.
According to sources close to the matter, though, and as reported by Motor Trend, the Japanese automaker will not be living up to those expectations. Perhaps the car just isn’t ready yet, which we find hard to believe, unless for some reason they’re insisting on presenting a fully realised production model, ready for the showrooms. We doubt fans would care.
Another possibility is that Toyota is holding out for a flashier premiere at the Geneva Motor Show a couple of months after Detroit. After all, the Supra - if it’s even called that - is a car that’s one of the most globally beloved of their past, and a possible return would draw the attention of many European buyers as well.
Funnily enough, BMW could also be aiming to unveil their finished Z4 at the same motor show, meaning these siblings will need to be competing for the limelight right from the get-go. It’s likely, though, that both will have very different target audiences in mind, and a likely a very different type of buyer.
Unless Toyota plans to sell the next Supra for Lexus-level prices, there shouldn’t be too much overlap between these two cars. Mechanically, though, they are very similar, thought to share the not only a common structure but also a common hybrid powertrain that merges BMW forte at emotional straight-sixes with Toyota’s expertise in electrification.