New 2019 Toyota Supra: interior to be heavily driver-focused

Published: 31 August 2018

► More info on Toyota Supra

► New 2019 Toyota Supra in detail
► Shared parts with the BMW Z4

► On UK sale first half of 2019

We haven’t seen much of the new Toyota Supra’s interior yet – save for a few dials and a steering wheel - but we know it could be quite snug, for passengers at least. CAR understands that the Supra’s super-aggressive, tapering rear-end has led to a reduction in cabin space - especially compared to the coupe’s BMW Z4 twin.  

Our sources have indicated space is at a premium inside the coupe's interior, with more room dedicated to the driver than the passenger: think McLaren F1-lite, so a 55:45 split, perhaps.

Either way, it’s going to result in an even more driver-focused cabin, which we’re not going to complain about. It’ll be interesting to see if the Supra is still accommodating for taller drivers though, and what its luggage capacity will be.

For everything else you need to know about the Toyota Supra, keep reading.

New Toyota Supra: everything you need to know

The new Toyota Supra is set to shake up the sports car market early next year, with 350bhp thrills, a turbo six-cylinder engine, curvaceous double-bubble roof, 0-62mph time of around four seconds and a price tag topping £50,000. If you like compact sports cars and were in the queue for a Porsche 718 Cayman, Alpine A110 or Jaguar F-type, it looks like your shopping list just got a little longer. 

Supra is one of the most iconic names in Toyota’s long history and four decades after the first model was unveiled, we’re about to get a new one. Codenamed A90, the new model is a joint project with the forthcoming BMW Z4, and as it nears production, we’re learning more and more about what could be next year’s most exciting sports car.  

When can I buy the new Toyota Supra?

Not quite yet... We'll see the new car later in 2018 and UK sales will start in the first half of 2019. It made regular runs up the hill at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed - and we can now vouch for what looks like hard acceleration and a multi-cylinder engine rasp on work-outs up the Duke of Richmond's driveway.

The company has now gone on record to say the 'new Toyota Supra will be faithful to its heritage with an inline, front-mounted six-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive.' Phew. The UK distributor showed the cars to loyal Supra fan clubs in July 2018, as it drums up interest in the newcomer.

Goodwood marked the very first time the actual Supra production car has been seen anywhere in the world. Driven by chief engineer Tetsuya Tada and the company's superbly named 'master driver' Herwig Daenens, you can see a picture of it in its camo'd livery above. 

At this year’s Le Mans 24 Hour race, we sat down to talk Supra with Tada, who's also the chief engineer of the GT86 coupe. From transmission and engine details, to the development process and a forthcoming GRMN version, he revealed several new nuggets about the new Toyota Supra.

Twinned with BMW: why the Z4 and Supra share DNA

It’s no secret that BMW and Toyota have teamed up to create the new Z4/Supra platform, and the reasons behind the collaboration are largely financial. It’s a reflection of a shrinking global market for sports cars that two giants of manufacturing are teaming up to get the efficiencies of scale required to get the project off the ground.

Read our full review of the BMW Z4 prototype here

However, it appears that the initial desire to save costs and share parts meant the joint project got off to a less than ideal start. ‘We started discussions with BMW saying “Let’s increase the amount of shared parts, let’s make everything efficient” – that was the starting point,’ explains Tada-san. ‘It didn’t quite match, and there was one instance where BMW came up and said – what do you want? It seems like you're making compromises for the sake of efficiency.’

After that, Toyota and BMW began to develop the individual cars they wanted, and then looked for common areas where it made sense to share hardware. Our spy photos have previously revealed more of the new 2+2 sports car's styling, as engineers hone it before final sign-off.

There won’t be as many parts shared as you think; we’re told that the new Supra now only shares six - six! - components with the Z4. There's the engine and transmission, just the door mirrors and two others parts that are common between them.

Okay, we're being generous by swallowing the engine being one component line - but both camps are adamant these two cars are not merely badge-engineered sports car twins.

So what about the Toyota Supra engine and transmission? 

The Supra shares the same engine and transmission as the latest BMW Z4, so expect a range-topping turbocharged inline six generating a rumoured 330bhp and 450Nm (or 332lb ft) coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission. We've seen the new the Z4 snapped in development with a six-speed manual, but CAR understands it's unlikely to make it to production at this stage. Shame.

The Z4 will be manufactured in Austria by Magna Steyr at its Graz production facility - the go-to overflow release valve when car manufacturers can't squeeze a new model into their existing factory network. The Supra will be built at a Toyota factory, CAR understands.

Rumours suggest that the Supra will feature a mixture of four- and six-cylinder BMW units, mostly turbocharged and available with dual-clutch transmissions. This suggests they might launch with a toppy six-pot, and then grow sales and/or stretch the range with four-cylinder engines in due course.

What, no manual gearbox?

An interview with Toyota chief engineer Tada and Japanese magazine Info Seek, claims it almost certainly won't. When asked in spring 2018 if the new Supra would be coming with a manual transmission, Tada replied: ‘At the moment, it is not; it is just a dual-clutch transmission.’

Tada goes on to say that’s partly because the new car could produce too much torque for a manual gearbox. A manual gearbox could however appear on the more hardcore GRMN version of the car that are in the pipeline. 

However, we have since learned that the BMW Z4 will offer a manual option. Watch this space, as they say...

Will it still feel like a Toyota Supra?

Engineers cite a 50:50 weight distribution as being a key objective of the new shared Toyota-BMW rear-wheel drive architecture and torsional rigidity is said to surpass that of the composite-bodied LF-A, which bodes well for handling and poise on the road – but apart from that the cars should drive very differently, according to the respective engineers.

Toyota is confident we’ll be able to notice the differences between the two straight away. ‘In terms of calibration and other areas we take a completely different approach,’ Tada reassured CAR magazine. ‘You will feel like you’re in a different car with different tastes.’

Whereas the Z4 prototype we’ve driven appears to be a sporty, elegant convertible, the Supra is going to be a far more focused sports car. ‘We’ve not considered things like practicality or comfort,’ Tada says, while adding that the Z4 is designed for a totally different audience.

What will the new 2018 Toyota Supra look like?

First hinted at with the  FT-1 concept, and then again with the Supra Racing concept (above), the general look of Toyota’s next sports car is already out in the open. But at Le Mans, we dug out more insight into how it was designed. And it seems certain to continue the wide rear beloved of the earlier four generations of Supra (the last model was the A80, paving the way for the new 2019 A90 Supra).

‘We wanted to make it so at a glance you recognise it, so we went through many discussions with the designer of the car and this is how we came up with the design,’ says Tada. ‘There were some focal points or cues of the design taken from the previous Supra. For example, the rear fender, where we had that kind of volume; we said that’s the sexy part of the design, so we tried to have some cues.’

Dimensions of the Supra have been leaked online and, if accurate, suggest a size of:

  • Length 4.38m
  • Width 1.86m
  • Height 1.29m
  • Wheelbase 2.47m
  • Weight Just under 1500kg

Hotter Toyota Supra GRMN version already on the way

The Supra is already shaping up to be a high-performance sports car, but Tada confirmed a GRMN model will also be on the way – eventually. Expect the sort of tweaks we’ve already seen on the Toyota Yaris GRMN but turned up to 11, and coming a little while after the standard production car.

Word is, the Toyota Supra specs and trims will look like this:

  • Supra Base model
  • Supra GR Extra equipment
  • Supra GR Sport Sports trim
  • Supra GRMN Go-faster version

Will there be a targa Supra, like on the Mk3 and Mk4? Too early to say, but the BMW partner car is obviously an open-top, so don't rule it out, we say...

Supra will go GTE racing too

What’s more, with a shake-up in the WEC rules imminent, it appears Toyota is doubling down on the endurance class. Alongside the new GRMN racing concept which is set to race in the new higher tier of the sport, the new Supra will also complete in the GTE class. That means Toyota will be represented in both classes.

And it looks like Toyota is taking the GTE class very seriously; we were told that designers have gone back and forth between the race car and production car, making sure the GTE version had the best possible platform to work with. Most of the air inlets on the road car were positioned strategically for the GTE version.

Likely Toyota Supra UK price and release date

While we’re not sure yet of the exact price at this stage, we can at least estimate it and we hear a £50,000 UK price is likely. The original model was a rather pricey £40,000 when it launched a quarter of a century ago – the same as a contemporary Lotus Esprit – and that gives an inflation-adjusted figure of £55,000 for a 2019 version of the car. Of course, the final UK price will depend on its competitors, which include:

  • Porsche 718 Cayman
  • Alpine A110
  • Jaguar F-type 4cyl

When can you buy the new Supra in the UK? Toyota has now confirmed it 'expects its new Toyota Supra to reach the market during the first half of 2019.' So not long to wait now...

Toyota Supra: bound for Nascar racing future

At this year’s Le Mans 24-hour race, Supra engineering chief Tada confirmed the car would race in the WEC GTE class – but now we know it’s going to race in NASCAR, too. Toyota has confirmed the Supra would compete in the Nascar Xfinity series, replacing the Camry silhouette it currently uses. And you’ll be able to see the Supra Nascar on track on 16 February 2019.

‘When you talk Toyota and cool cars, Supra is the first thing that comes to mind for many auto enthusiasts,’ said Ed Laukes, group vice president of Toyota marketing. ‘Supra’s return in production form is huge news, but now we’re also going to see this iconic sports car return to American motorsport. From a marketing perspective, it’s important to have a race car that evokes the dynamism and character of its showroom counterpart.’

Of course, the Nascar version of the Supra only shares a rough silhouette and design features with the road car, but there are still some interesting details. Most notably, the front and rear lights of the Nascar racer mirror that of the Supra Racing Concept we saw earlier this year, as well as other prototypes we’ve seen. At this point, we’ve got a very good idea of what the new Supra will look like.

Stay tuned to this page to read the latest Toyota Supra news, updates, photographs and specs as we get them. There will be much more detail in the coming weeks, as the countdown is on to the car's official debut this autumn.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast