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Toyota Supra leading Toyota’s next sports car charge

By Barry Park, 24 Mar 2017 News

Toyota Supra wide

A highly anticipated sports coupe is one of a number of ways Toyota hopes to inject fun back into driving

TOYOTA has hinted even more sports cars are in the works as it gears up for the global reveal of one of its most anticipated cars – the spiritual successor to the Supra.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb hinted that a program sparked by the carmaker’s president, Aiko Toyoda, about a decade ago to inject fun back into the company’s products, still had a way to run beyond Supra.

“There’s a desire internally to improve our stable of sports cars,” Cramb told Wheels.

“There’s clearly an association with BMW, and a higher grade of sports car coming.

“There is definitely development in other areas for Toyota; nothing else to announce yet though.”

Toyota is working with German luxury brand BMW on the rear-drive Supra replacement, teased by the FT-1 concept unveiled at the 2014 Detroit Motor Show. BMW’s soft-top version will become the Z4’s replacement known as the Z5, while Toyota’s tin-top version, due in 2018, is expected to wear the Supra badge.

We could see both at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

Toyota is also working on a potential replacement for the Toyota 86, the low-slung coupe launched in 2012 that quickly became Australia’s best-selling two-door – until the arrival of Ford’s Mustang late last year. It’s believed to have the next-generation 86’s debut also planned for next year.

The Japanese carmaker is also believed to be working on a production version of the S-FR compact roadster concept unveiled at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show featuring a turbocharged 1.5-litre engine – a powerplant that has since appeared under the bonnet of the design-driven C-HR compact SUV.

And Gazoo, Toyota’s racing skunk works, has already fettled a Yaris city hatchback. The performance sub-brand, which Cramb says won’t become a substitute for its long-established Toyota Racing Development (TRD) badge, is believed to be working on a more hardcore version of the 86.

However, Cramb said the Supra sports coupe was unlikely to spawn a Lexus-badged version as the divide between the Japanese car brand and its luxury division grew even wider.

“Lexus and Toyota are run separately and while there’s some level of engineering development very high up, in terms of development there’s no sharing,” Cramb said. “Those days [of platform sharing between the two] are long gone,” he said.

“The crossovers [between Toyota and Lexus] in the future will be far less than in the past.”