Toyota’s cult Supra classic reborn ahead of launch next year
TOYOTA has officially resurrected its legendary Supra sports car, unveiling a racing concept version at the Geneva motor show overnight.
The fifth generation of the car made famous by the Fast and the Furious franchise and the Gran Turismo video game will return 16 years after production of the fourth generation ceased.
The car's return was made possible through a joint venture with BMW, which will produce a "twin under the skin" to the Supra called the Z4.
The Supra will be launched overseas in the middle of next year and Toyota Australia is yet to commit to importing the car.
However, the company's sales and marketing boss Sean Hanley has made it clear the car is on the wish list.
"Supra has a very, very strong heritage in Australia.
"I can assure you Australia will putting its hand up as far as we can put it for this car. It's super exciting and I think there is a strong demand for this type of sports car in Australia," he says.
If it gets the green light the car could arrive in Australia before the end of next year.
Hanley says that despite the 15-year absence from local roads, the Supra still generates excitement among fans.
"We still get so many people asking when it's coming back. I had a 13-year-old boy come up to me the other day and ask 'is Supra coming back to Australia?'".
He says Supra points the way to the future for the brand in Australia, with cars that are fun to drive.
"It puts excitement back into the brand," he says.
He wouldn't speculate on pricing or engine specifications for the car, but with BMW underpinnings it is likely to be pitched at the top end of the affordable sports car market, potentially competing with the Nissan 370Z.
"We're in the business of bringing competitive cars to the market and nothing changes with this car. We would work to bring it in at the most competitive price we can," he says.
Hanley says the Supra could spearhead a return to Bathurst in the future, although not as part of the Supercar circus.
"I wouldn't rule out the potential to look at the 12-hour at some point," he says.
The Supra was a dominant force in the Japanese GT series for a number of years and it would make sense to tackle the 12-hour and compete against the likes of Porsche, Lamborghini and Ferrari.
Toyota worldwide has reinvested in motorsport in recent years and global boss Akio Toyoda is keen to expand its motorsport involvement through Gazoo racing, the performance arm he helped set up.
The Supra concept at the show was a compact, two-door, front-engined, rear-drive sports car.
While the wild rear wing is unlikely to stay, Toyota says the design is a big visual cue to the production car.
The Supra badge first appeared in 1978 on a larger version of the Toyota Celica then became a model in its own right. Further generations followed in 1981, 1986 and 1993 before the model was discontinued in 2002.
To build anticipation ahead of the launch of the new model, the concept will be featured in an update of the Gran Turismo video game in April.