Ah the Toyota Supra. It’s been six months since the sports car was revealed in Detroit, the culmination of literally years of spy photos and teasers from the Japanese automaker hyping up the end-product. The result is a properly fantastic machine, as experienced by our own hands during a recent first-drive event. But the shadow of BMW’s considerable involvement on the project continues to hang over Toyota’s head despite its best PR efforts to the contrary. In a lengthy report from Japanese Nostalgic Car, the latest word from Toyota on the BMW matter is that without help, a new Supra would still be a couple of years away. But there’s a bit more to it than that.
The website had occasion to speak with Supra Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada and allegedly asked some tough questions about the BMW/Toyota partnership. Much of this story is already known – the automakers decided to collaborate on a sports car, with BMW building the Z4 to compete against the Porsche 718 Boxster and Toyota matching up against the 718 Cayman. The automakers supposedly worked separately for years on each car, though everything from the engine to the interior and underpinnings are BMW-spec. The new – and confusing – part is that Tada says going it alone would’ve meant at least a couple more years before a new Supra would be on the road. But he also says it wouldn’t have happened at all without BMW’s help. And that’s something which has been repeated by Toyota in the past. So why even mention this theoretical delay?
Gallery: 2020 Toyota Supra first drive
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard a what-if scenario involving a Supra created solely by Toyota. Recently, Tada explained how the car’s sticker price would’ve exceeded six figures without the BMW partnership. Supposedly, the need to develop a new inline-six engine alone would’ve been difficult for Toyota to manage, never mind the car itself. If you’re seeing would’ve mentioned a lot here, you're certainly not wrong and frankly, these hypothetical scenarios from the automaker are beginning to feel a bit desperate. For whatever reason, Toyota couldn’t justify the cost of building a new Supra all in-house. Perhaps it’s best left right there.
The unfortunate aspect here is that the new Supra is terrifically exciting and fun to drive. With the long-awaited sports car finally making its way to buyers, perhaps that realisation will begin to overshadow its controversial German lineage.