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New Toyota Supra spied: next year's hottest sports car steps out for its coldest test yet

Published: 19 February 2018

  New Toyota Supra winter testing
  Twinned with next BMW Z4
  New concept to be shown at Geneva

One week after a racing concept was confirmed for the 2018 Geneva motor show, the new 2019 Toyota Supra is out and about again, this time testing in the winter chill of northern Sweden as engineers finalise durability tests of their new car.

Our new spy photographs reveal a two-door coupe with less camouflage than before - and our best look yet at the curvaceous double-bubble roof (below), reminiscent of '60s sports cars.

It's the first time we've seen a prototype without acres of foam padding distorting the true shape of the metalwork underneath, although there's still plenty of psychedelic, swirly-whirly disruptive pattern disguise.

Toyota Supra: the new 2019 sports car's double-bubble roof

Our new spy photos flesh out the announcement earlier in February 2018, when Toyota GB's Twitter account posted a picture entitled ‘the legend returns.’ It appeared to show the unmistakable rear end of Toyota’s new coupe.

There’s not much to see of the actual car, but the silhouette strongly resembles the Toyota FT-1 concept, a design the Supra could be based on.

Interestingly, the Toyota USA account reveals more detail, and says that ‘at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, a modern racing concept signals Toyota’s commitment to bring back to market its most iconic sports car.’

That suggests the return of the long-mooted Supra brand is happening. Expect to see another, pre-production concept in Geneva – but it also means we’ll have to wait even longer to see a production version of Toyota’s legendary sports car. Still, it's better than nothing... 

New Toyota Supra: everything we know so far

Developed jointly with BMW, the new 2019 Toyota 'Supra' coupe will be built alongside the next-generation Z4.

Side profile: the new Toyota Supra codenamed J29

Toyota’s version, codenamed J29, will be available in hard-top form only - whereas the BMW Z4 will remain a coupe-convertible. It’s just one example of how the two brands are keen to have clear water between the two projects, so they’re not competing with each other. Every prototype Supra we’ve seen in spy photos so far has been a tin-top coupe, but under the skin, the two cars will share plenty of their engineering hardware.

New Toyota Supra: what will it be called?

Most people are calling Toyota’s next car the Supra, and it’s easy to see why - especially in light of those officially sanctioned tweets. It’s one of the most impressive names in the car world, and the Supra badge holds both history and prestige for Toyota – but it could be called something else.

The Toyota Yaris GRMN is the first car to be sold in Europe under Gazoo Racing banner, and it’s likely the new Toyota Supra will also be fettled heavily by the Japanese firm’s motorsport brand.

Gazoo Racing are testing the new 2019 Toyota Supra extensively at the Nurburgring

However, the next Toyota Supra could also be referred to as the Toyota GT-One – and that’d also make sense based on the brand’s history. The Toyota GT86 was originally called the FT-86 Concept, and with an FT-1 Concept – widely regarded to be the design bedrock for the next Supra – already shown to the public, it’s possible the next Toyota supercar will be called the GT-1.

If you’re a fan of Le Mans or enduracing racing, you’ll know the GT-One was one of the most iconic racing cars ever made by Toyota, and the GT-1 name would be a fitting tribute to the brand’s motorsport history.

What's the likely UK Supra price and release date? 

While we’re not sure of the price, we can estimate it based on the possible hybrid powertrain, and the cost of the original sports car range. 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 price will depend on the models it’s being targeted against, too.

New Toyota Supra performance specs: what can we expect?

The BMW and Toyota have been co-developed and share the same rear-wheel drive architecture. It’s a reflection of a shrinking global market for sports cars that two giants of manufacturing are having to collaborate to get the efficiencies of scale required to get this project off the ground.

New 2019 Toyota Supra codenamed J29: specs, prices and news

Our sources suggest that the two products will look totally unrelated, despite sharing so much of their hardware. This is not merely a reskinned Z4, insiders insist, unlike the close similarity between the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ, for instance.

Engines are understood to be mixture of four- and six-cylinder BMW units, mostly turbocharged and available with dual-clutch transmissions; leaked documents suggest a manual gearbox is not currently a given. Both models are expected to be built by Magna Steyr in Austria, reflecting their low-volume status.

The electronic architecture of the two cars will be identical, but with different programming: the digital dials and e-networks will be essentially the same, but tuned with different look and feel for each brand.

New Toyota Supra: will there be a hybrid version?

Toyota has revealed a concept car that could provide some serious clues about the new Supra. The Toyota GR Super Sport Concept is a wild-looking LMP1-style supercar, but its hybrid engine could very well end up in the new 2019 Toyota Supra.

The Super Sport Concept (above) is a product of Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s motorsport arm, and it’s partly been shown to emphasise the company’s race-to-road initiative. The Super Sport Concept is powered by a twin-turbo, direct injection 2.4-litre V6 engine combined with what Toyota calls a Hybrid System Racing powertrain – and it’s possible something quite similar will end up in the new Supra.

From a branding perspective, it makes sense for the new road car to use an engine partially developed by Toyota’s motorsport programme. And the engine currently sitting in the GR Super Sport Concept ticks all the relevant boxes...

Design, styling of the new Supra

Word is the new sports coupe will look to the FT-1 concept car for inspiration, which is fine by us. It looks like a modern take on the classic Japanese sports car - despite sharing hardware with its Bavarian cousin.

The new 2017 BMW Z4 concept foreshadows the new BM roadster, twinned with Supra

BMW’s Z4, codenamed G29, has been heavily trailed by the concept car shown at Pebble Beach in summer 2017 (above) - so this show car reveals much of the stance and footprint of the platform.

Engineers cite a 50:50 weight distribution as being a key objective of the new architecture, which bodes well for handling and poise on the road.

Read all our Toyota reviews here

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet