New Toyota Supra: four-cylinder not coming to UK

Published: 14 January 2020

► New A90 Toyota Supra coupe
► Straight-six and four-cyl versions
► Priced from £52,695 in the UK

Toyota has revealed a new engine for the Supra range in European markets. In selected countries a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo will sit underneath the flagship 3.0-litre inline-six turbo, giving buyers a less powerful, but arguably nimbler choice. Production of Supras with the new engine will begin shortly, with sales expected to start in March 2020. However, CAR understands there are no plans for it to come ot the UK.

The new block uses a twin-scroll turbocharger coupled to an eight-speed, ZF 'box and isn't exactly feeble: it still puts out 251bhp and 195lb ft, with 0-62mph taking just 5.2 seconds.

Engineers have managed to achieve an equal weight balance between front and rear, and say a 100kg saving could mean the car is even better through the tricky stuff. There doesn't look to be any exterior differences though. 

'To achieve agile steering and stable cornering, we worked very hard to reduce the new car’s weight, while aiming for a 50:50 weight balance,' said GR Supra chief engineer Tetsuya Tada. 'This presented us with huge challenges, but we did not want to compromise on our targets.'

CAR understands the four-cylinder won't be coming to the UK due to a lack of demand compared to other countries – as well as a possible cannibalisation of straight-six sales. 

We'll update this article with the price and other info when we get it. 

New Toyota Supra: everything you need to know

Toyota finally pulled the covers – and the camo – off the new A90-generation Supra coupe at the 2019 NAIAS Detroit motor show, after one of the longest dripfeed teaser campaigns in living memory. After so many leaks and public appearances, the new Supra probably looks quite familiar to you already – but underneath it features a strong resemblence to BMW's latest Z4 roadster, too. That's because both cars were developed jointly.

So, the Toyota Supra is an all-new sports coupe from Japan and the fifth to carry the Supra name. Toyota worked in partnership with BMW to get it off the ground, with Munich working on making the next-generation Z4 roadster.

The two share a platform and engines but, visually, there are far more differences than similarities. Toyota says the styling comes under its ‘Condensed Extreme’ design language, with a stretching bonnet, double-bubble roofline and stubby rear all present and correct.

The Condensed Extreme name points to the short wheelbase, low and wide footprint and massive wheels that fill the bulbous arches. Europe will have those black-and-metal alternating 19-inch rims as standard. The headlamps are heavily stylised while the grille, front and bonnet are punctured with numerous cooling vents to feed the engine, brakes and radiators with air.

The footprint of the car is in what’s apparently called the ‘Golden Ratio’ for handling prowess – the ratio between wheelbase length and wheel tread width – with the bookends being 1.5 and 1.6. The Supra is bang in the middle at 1.55.

We've driven it! Read our full review of the new Toyota Supra here

‘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 Chief Engineer, Tetsuya 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.’

Give me engines and specs!

So far, just one engine is on sale: a 3.0-litre straight-six turbo with 335bhp and 369lb ft for the GR Supra. If those power figures sound familiar, that’s because they’re the same as the M40i version of the BMW Z4. And quite a few other 40i BMW models, too, like the M140i and M240i, for that matter.

Toyota Supra grey front end

In the Supra, that power goes to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission – there’s no manual version thus far. Toyota claims the GR Supra will hit 62mph in 4.3 seconds. There’s also launch control and, like the GT86, a Track setting for the traction control that ensures less electronic interference. Euro-spec Supras will also feature an active differential for the driven wheels.

Four-cylinder Supras already confirmed

As expected, the new Supra will be offered in more than just the inline-six initially announced to the public. At Detroit, Toyota confirmed the new coupe would also be available with a four-cylinder turbocharged powerplant too – though it’s currently just for the Japanese market.

In the Japanese market, the RZ tops the range with the inline-six, but after that, and SZ-R comes in with 255bhp and a SZ model brings 194bhp. As for performance? Expect the more powerful inline-four to get from 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds with the slower one hitting 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. Good, but not the 4.3sec of the top model. 

Toyota’s figures have the SZ-R weighing 70kg less than the RZ and the SZ weighing 110kg less – and interestingly putting it around the same weight as the GT86.

CAR understands both these models are using BMW’s B48d 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A hardcore GRMN model is in the pipeline, too.

In other news, there could still be a manual transmission in the pipeline, because Toyota has already developed it. However, the decision to offer it is still very much up in the air, and the manual 'box does make it to production, it could only be available on right-hand drive cars: good news for us Japanese and British folk, but not the American or continental European markets...

‘[A manual ‘box] is not yet finally decided, and depending on feedback from the market, we will decide if we should introduce a manual transmission,' Kai said in an interview to Car Advice.

Toyota Supra rear end

‘We have developed it, yes, there is hardware ready. Right-hand drive? Yes, of course. It needs to be sold in Japan, which is a right-hand drive market.’ So the jury’s out…

But I thought...

Yes, we thought a manual was out of the question, too. A few months ago an interview with Toyota chief engineer Tada and Japanese magazine Info Seek stated there wouldn’t be a manual ‘box. 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.’

Toyota Supra red overhead

Tada went on to say that’s partly because the new car could produce too much torque for a manual gearbox. However, we have since learned that the BMW Z4 will offer a manual option in future. Watch this space...

Let’s talk Toyota Supra interior and equipment

It's a properly driver-centric cockpit inside, with enough Toyota bits to make it less obvious where the BMW bits are. Like the headlight buttons, iDrive screen and centre console switchgear, gear selector and air-con dials.

Toyota has confirmed there are two different trim variants of the new A90 Supra. For the GR model revealed first, there are standard and Pro models, with the latter being the much more lavishly-equipped one.

Toyota Supra interior

Active has dual-zone air-con, keyless entry and start, adaptive LED headlights, adaptive cruise, a huge suite of safety kit and an 8.8-inch infotainment system. Alcantara seats are standard, too.

As for Premium, you get leather seats, a JBL audio upgrade, head-up display and a wireless phone charger. All very on-trend.

For those who didn’t get enough of the whole teaser campaign, Toyota is also offering an ultra-exclusive A90 edition to celebrate the car’s fetching modern camouflage while out on events like the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The A90 Edition will have bespoke Storm Grey matte paint, matte black alloys, red leather upholstery and kit that matches the Premium grade. Just 90 will be available.

Twinned with BMW: why the Z4 and Supra share DNA

It has been no secret that BMW and Toyota teamed up to create the new Z4/Supra platform, and the reasons behind the collaboration were 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.

Our BMW Z4 roadster review

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.’

Toyota Supra red rear quarter

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.

Toyota Supra UK price and release date

You've been able to pre-order the new Supra for a few months now, with deposits being taken in Britain since autumn 2018.

Toyota says 300 out of the first 900 that are bound for Europe are coming to the UK, with a price tag of £52,695. It's £54,000 for the Pro variant and £56,945 for the ultra-limited A90 Edition. Deliveries are expected in Europe from late summer.

Those first 900 owners in Europe will ‘enjoy a number of special benefits’, according to Toyota, ‘they will be given access to an exclusive experience programme and money-can’t-buy rewards in the lead-up to delivery.’

By Curtis Moldrich and Jake Groves

Our reviewers: fresh perspectives for inquisitive minds