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Toyota gets serious about its Supra, will preview a production-ready concept in 2016

Toyota FT-1 front angle
Toyota FT-1 Concept Image used with permission by copyright holder
Anticipation for Toyota’s Supra successor is about as high as it gets for a new sports car. Years of rumors, teasers, and finally, concepts has built enthusiasm for the follow-up to one of the best front-engine, rear-wheel drive cars ever to come out of Japan.

Enthusiasts were rewarded last year when Toyota introduced its FT-1 Concept at the Detroit Motor Show, and if the latest word from the automaker’s sports car division head is true, we can expect to see a new, more production-ready concept early next year. Tetsuya Tada was careful not to give an exact date for the concept’s reveal, but January’s Detroit Motor Show seems like a fitting timeline.

Tada hinted that the FT-1 replacement will use a sequential gearbox and a powertrain that won’t try to break any horsepower records. Instead, the Supra concept will be designed to deliver a fun-first driving experience.

Toyota FT-1 rear angle
Toyota FT-1 Concept Image used with permission by copyright holder

“There are so many high-end sport cars available in the world with 700 horsepower or more [that are] not so special anymore,” said Tada. “That kind of horsepower makes no sense for our car. Almost all customers are not like professional racing drivers. They just want to enjoy, to feel something fun.”

Don’t interpret that to mean Toyota won’t gun for rivals like the Porsche 911. Expect the new Supra to be as much of an upset to the sports car market as the A80 generation was in 1992.

Co-developed with BMW, the new Supra should be about the size of a Porsche 911 and will be powered by an inline six-cylinder 3.0-liter turbocharged engine with at least 335 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque. There will also be a more power plug-in hybrid version with 473 horsepower.

When Toyota introduces the production version Supra successor in 2017, the Toyota brand will have three sports car tiers, starting with the production version of the brand’s S-FR concept, working up the second generation of the GT-86, and finally to the range-topping Supra.

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