It’s no secret that Toyota’s engineers are busy cooking up a spiritual descendant of the dearly-departed Supra sports car, but rumours that ToMoCo’s neo-Supra may be marketed under Toyota’s nascent Gazoo sub-brand are definitely a surprise.
What’s Gazoo? Good question. Unless you follow Toyota’s factory racing efforts in the Japanese Super GT series and, more recently, WRC, Dakar and the World Endurance Championship, odds are the name Gazoo doesn’t mean much to you. Toyota wants to change that.
Gazoo wants to be to Toyota what AMG is to Mercedes – a home-grown sub-brand specialising in performance-tuned versions of vanilla-spec Toyotas. Up until now, however, the only road cars bearing the Gazoo name have been confined to the Japanese domestic market.
The first Gazoo model to venture outside of Japan is expected to be a Yaris-based hot hatch (above), which has already been confirmed for a Geneva Motor Show debut in March. We know it’ll boast a stout 157kW, but its full name has yet to be confirmed. However, Gazoo offerings in Japan either tack a GRMN (for Gazoo Racing Masters of Nurburgring) or G’s suffix on the end of the model name, which may hold some clues for global-market vehicles.
Which means zilch for us, because Toyota’s Yaris hot hatch ain’t coming to Australia. Boo.
According to UK mag Autocar, the Gazoo-tuned Yaris will be followed by the Supra’s successor, which will take position as the high-performance halo car for the Gazoo brand. Will there be a non-Gazoo version? At this point that detail is unclear, though Autocar quotes Gazoo boss and Toyota powertrain Chief Koei Saga as being gung-ho about establishing a global road car range bearing the Gazoo name.
Currently under development in partnership with BMW (who will spin their own coupe, expected to be called the Z5, off the same platform as Toyota’s two-door), the new Supra is expected to boast a hybrid powertrain. If it borrows from stablemate Lexus, Toyota could conceivably squeeze the 264kW 3.5-litre V6 hybrid powertrain from the LC 500h into the Supra’s snout – if not the new Lexus LS’ 310kW/600Nm petrol-electric V6 setup.
This is all speculative at this point, however. Toyota has yet to confirm its plans for the incoming sporty coupe, though expect all to be revealed later this year (potentially at the Tokyo Motor Show in October) ahead of an on-sale date sometime in 2018.