It might not debut at the same time as the new model.
Toyota has a new turbocharged hybrid engine under development, and the timing hints that it could be for the next-gen Supra. Toyota Motorsport GmbH, which does engineering on the company’s endurance racers and rally cars, is handling work on the prototype. The division’s prowess on the track could be the perfect match for creating the sports car’s powerplant.
Rob Leupen, Vice President and Director of Business Operations at Toyota Motorsport, dropped some tiny hints in an interview with AutoRAI. He confirmed the turbocharged hybrid engine’s development but refused to say which vehicle it was for. He also didn’t discuss the powerplant’s displacement or cylinder arrangement.
According to Leupen, Toyota Motorsport routinely does prototype work for production models, and then sends the developments to Japan for further refinement. It usually takes three to five years for the division’s projects to hit the market, he indicates.
We can’t be certain this engine is really for the Supra, but the three to five year timeline fits well with rumors about the upcoming coupe. Many reports suggest the sports car would be available with a turbocharged hybrid, and at least one hints there could be a powertrain without electrical assistance. Speculation also suggests the Supra would arrive with the successor to the BMW Z4 in 2018. Assuming the powerplant’s development is still in the early stages, Toyota could conceivably have it ready for 2019 – a year after the conventional version’s debut. A staggered launch would let the automaker keep the buzz going a little longer around the new performance car.