Rumor: New Toyota Supra, entry-level sports car confirmedMon, 10 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0800
Fans of Japanese performance cars haven't had much to complain about lately. First we get word that Nissan is gearing up to build a production version of the Datsun 510-inspired IDx concept. Next, we learn of a new “Initial D” movie on the horizon.
The only way this could possibly get any better is if Toyota decided to put the FT-1 concept, which we first saw at the Detroit auto show, into production.
According motoring.co.au, that's exactly what has happened. And if the enthusiast site's unnamed sources can be believed, the car will be called the Supra when it arrives in a few years -- perhaps as early as 2016.
Now, we hear a lot of wild things from those proverbial unnamed sources -- many (make that most) of them too good to be true. In this case, though, we desperately want to believe the mystery insider or insiders feeding the Australian enthusiast website intel.
Toyota, for its part, denies all of it. We asked representatives of the automaker for something -- anything -- to bite on. “At this time, there are no plans for production of the FT-1” is the only response we got.
Yet, the automaker has suggested that public response to the so-called “spiritual pace car” may influence future product.
Motoring's source says the FT-1 concept's “sharp lines, scoops and edges will definitely be 'softened' for the market,” but we can't say we're too surprised or disappointed by that. A concept car is a concept car, after all.
More intriguing are the pair of proposed powertrains, which seem tantalizingly plausible. Base level is a turbocharged 2.0-liter I4, supposedly the same one from the upcoming production version of the Lexus LF-NX.
The range-topper will be a hybrid setup much like the next-generation GT-R, with the bulk of the car's projected 400-plus hp coming from a turbocharged 2.5-liter V6. Also very Nissan GT-R-like is the price: At an estimated $90,000, the next Supra will be out of reach to most enthusiasts.
Perhaps hoping to placate the masses, Toyota is supposedly working on a smaller, entry-level sports coupe to debut in 2017. Slated to be more affordable than the Scion FR-S at around $15,000, the car would get a hybrid powertrain revolving around a 1.5-liter inline-four.
Next up? CEO Akio Toyoda recently reiterated Formula One racing is a no-go so long as he's around, but maybe his fingers were crossed. If Motoring's prognostications end up being on the money, nothing would really surprise us.
By Graham Kozak