Toyota, it would appear, has found renewed interest within its boardrooms for genuine sports models in its vehicle line-up, an enthusiasm surely fanned by the success of the new 86 coupe.
Whispers of a new flagship sports model to revive the spirit of the barnstorming Supra have been doing the rounds for some time.
Now a report with Singapore's The Business Times claims that Toyota boss Akio Toyoda, a noted motorsport enthusiast, has issued a new order: "Make a successor to the Supra as soon as possible".
Speaking at an event in Germany, 86 development boss Tetsuya Tada reportedly confirmed the command, but said that a debut for a new Supra would be closer to the end of this decade.
"The 86 needed five years to develop, so at least five years is required for the others. A normal passenger car about two to three years. But sports cars need special parts, so it's five years," Tada said.
He added that it is not just the Supra in the works; a third new sports car is also under consideration, suggesting a return of the mid-engined MR2.
The project is in its very early stages, Tada says, and it remains to be seen if the new models would be offered exclusively as coupes, convertibles, or both.
If it's a new Supra we can look forward to, expect a rear-wheel-drive layout and a big turbocharged engine.
Of course, this is Toyota we're talking about, so don't be surprised if there's some hybrid technology under the bonnet. And, if it looks to the Nissan GT-R as a benchmark, the Supra might finally also gain some all-wheel-drive traction.
Tada said that while Toyota's philosophy in recent decades has focused largely on passenger vehicles and green technologies, Akio Toyoda has pushed a new "two pillar" strategy to the company.
"We have two pillars - an ecological car and driving fun. We must balance these two aims otherwise users won't recognise us a true carmaker," he said.
"This is a new business model. When customers buy a car, it creates a new bond between the manufacturer and the owner - we do not just profit from selling the car."
The need to spread the cost of development across multiple models will also be more easily covered, with reports in recent weeks that Lexus is planning a new RC-badged coupe.
If Toyota can utilise a modified version of that platform - expected to also be shared with the new IS sedan - a new Supra could be closer than ever to becoming a reality.
One thing is certain. if Toyota builds it, the fans will come - and they'll bring the age-old 'Supra versus GT-R' debates with them.
Related News & Reviews at TMR ▼
- Supra | MR2 | 86 Coupe | Toyota
- Sports Cars | Enthusiast | Lifestyle