Toyota FT-1 may enter production as next-gen Supra, thanks to new sports car skunkworks

The Toyota FT-1 concept that wowed audiences at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show may be closer to production than originally anticipated.

Australia’s Motoring reports that the FT-1 will – as many predicted – form the basis for the next Supra.

A confidential source told Motoring that the production car will resemble the FT-1, but that many of its details will be “softened” on the way to showrooms. That’s the case with most concept cars, which are meant to look good first and and be production-feasible second.

Two powertrains are reportedly being considered: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine from the upcoming Lexus NX small crossover, and a hybrid system featuring a 2.5-liter turbocharged V6.

It wouldn’t really be a Supra without rear-wheel drive, but according to Motoring the production FT-1 could get a rear-mounted transaxle for better weight distribution.

But wait, there’s more.

As if a production version of the FT-1 wasn’t good enough, Toyota has also reportedly started a sports-car division skunkworks, headed by none other than FR-S/GT86 chief engineer Tetsuya Tada.

In addition to the FT-1/Supra, this new skunkworks is rumored to be working on a smaller sports car that would sit below the Toyobaru GT86/BRZ/FR-S in the Toyota lineup, and would also feature a hybrid powertrain, albeit withe a 1.5-liter engine.

The FR-S is fairly basic, so it’s hard to imagine how Toyota could reduce things even further and still have a car that’s palatable (and big enough) for global markets.

There’ll be plenty of time to mull it over though, as neither car is expected to appear before 2016. Or maybe, not even then.

This isn’t the first time reports of a reincarnated Supra have circulated, so it’s easy to be skeptical. Still, the fact that Toyota built the FT-1 in the first place, and the positive reaction to it, are encouraging signs.

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