Toyota Supra A90 could have been mid-engined or SUV

9 March 2018 by Malcolm Flynn

A straight six, rear drive performance flagship wasn’t the only option on the table for the Toyota/BMW project which will result in the new Supra.

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Toyota’s alliance with BMW could have resulted in a new MR2 or BMW-based SUV among several other options before the decision was made to revive the Supra nameplate, according to chief engineer Tetsuya Tada.

Speaking with CarsGuide at this week’s Geneva motor show, Tada-san explained that it took two years to whittle down the options to settle on the Supra project which has been previewed in Geneva as the Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept.

“In the beginning we had many other possibilities that we discussed; mid-ship sports car could be a possibility, or a high deck car could be another possibility,” Tada said.

Reading between the lines, the mid-engined option could have been a new version of the MR2 compact sports car, which has been absent from Toyota’s global line-up since the third-generation model disappeared in 2007. 

BMW isn’t known to be working on a budget mid-engined platform, however, with the only model using this layout in the current line-up being the $300,000 i8 plug-in hybrid supercar. The only other mid-engined BMW that springs to mind is the M1 supercar which was co-developed with Lamborghini in the late ‘70s.

A Toyota/BMW Sport Utility Vehicle is arguably even harder to imagine, given how full both brands’ SUV line-ups are at present.

The Supra was eventually deemed the best option for the partnership, largely due to BMW’s ability to deliver a straight-six engine and rear-wheel drive platform. 

These were considered the two essential elements for a new Supra, following the same formula used with the first four generations, and BMW is one of the few remaining companies to offer such a layout. 

The new Supra will ride on the same platform as the  upcoming BMW Z4 when it likely appears within the next 12 months, with a turbo six under the bonnet likely to be a retuned version of the B58 unit currently found in BMW’s ‘40i models. Its Australian future is yet to be locked in, but the brand’s local arm has both hands raised. 

Are you glad Toyota went with the Supra instead of a new MR2? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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