Toyota Supra. If the Nissan GT-R is Godzilla, then the Supra the King of the Jungle.
With the RWD platform, sideways-swinging action, and loads of torque from the inline 6, it has become truly legendary. It’s all about fun; take the targa top off and listen to the turbo whistle!
The Toyota MKIV Supra was the final and most iconic model of this car, and it ceased production by 2002. Since that time there have always been rumors floating around about possible successors, however none of them have ever made it past the auto show concept stage. The most promising of which was introduced over 6 years ago in 2007 in the form of the Toyota FT-HS.
It’s easy to see the similarities between the two, even considering the design is nearly 2 decades newer than the Supra. The wrap-around “cockpit” driver’s console, the bespoke rear end and striking tail lights, and the gaping mouth. Nearly 7 years on it seems doubtful that Toyota has any interest in moving forward with this car, but it is still on their website. There may yet be hope. This is their description of the FT-HS:
“The FT-HS pairs a potent hybrid powertrain with essential sports-car fundamentals. This Toyota concept is a mid-priced sports car that integrates ecology and emotion in a concept that addresses the question, “What is a suitable sports car for the 21st century?”
Boasting a powerful 3.5L V6 engine, the FT-HS is coupled with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive® to produce a target power output of approximately 400 horsepower and a projected 0-to-60 acceleration in the 4-second range. At a mid-priced market position, the FT-HS would be a true “attainable exotic” with 21st-century performance.
A sculpted front and rear remove mass around key functional components, while the roof has a distinctive scooped-out section designed to reduce aerodynamic drag and provide head room at the key areas.
The FT-HS’s interior features create a dedicated driver’s cockpit that includes a cross-car instrument panel structure and delta-wing driver pod. An integrated instrument panel surrounds the driver, creating an enclosed pod effect. Armrests flow seamlessly into the door and surrounding interior. Seating is optimized for a lightweight appearance and function: The seating accommodates four and then converts to a 2-seater when the roof retracts.”
This seems like a promising platform to reboot the Supra name, but Toyota only seems interested in making eco-boxes under their nameplate. It’s almost time to forego hope of this concept coming to life or Toyota ever resurrecting anything close to the “MKV Supra”.
What if we look elsewhere? Toyota’s luxury flagship, Lexus, has been putting more emphasis on performance cars lately, what with the IS-F trying to compete with the M3 and the LFA having copious amounts of sophisticated performance. What might they have in store?
The Lexus LF-LC (Lexus Future-Luxury Coupe) is flaunting a “MKV Supra” vibe. The taillights are designed after the look of a jet afterburner after takeoff. The curves of the body emphasize motion and performance. The cabin in centered around the driver with a wrap-around effect, making the business of driving the focus while inside.
Lexus execs have reportedly said the car has a 50/50 chance of production, and that it could take up to 4 years to make it there. This debuted less than 2 years ago so there is still a shred of hope! It’s apparently been approved for production as well, but we’re not sure if that actually means anything so don’t get your hopes too high. Supposedly it will boast a V8 boosted by electric hybrid technology powering the RWD platform that will push 500 hp. Sounds good! But here’s the bad news fellow gear heads: It’s not the next Supra.
Why? Well, even if it does make it onto the production line, it’ll be marketed as a poor-man’s Lexus LFA…and that’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.
The LFA was outrageously overpriced. Let’s face it – the whole attraction to Japanese FR cars is monstrous performance at a very affordable price. When you smack a $375,000 tag on a JDM car, people walk out and buy a GT-R that’s nearly $300k cheaper. And if you can’t figure out what to do with your spare $400k, trade it for a Ferrari 458 Italia…and a house. Need I say “duh”?
They’re estimating that the Lexus LF-LC will be a hair under $200,000. Ridiculous, insane, foolish, stupidly optimistic. These are the words that come to mind. When you’re competing against Nissan, nobody cares how much R&D went into it. If it’s not at least $50k faster, then don’t even tell me more about it. The LF-LC will never reprise the spirit of the Supra simply because of price, and that’s the end of it.
Toyota, you need to remove your head from your ass and give enthusiasts all over the world what they want at a reasonable price.