The high-performance Toyota Supra will return in 2018, boasting hybrid technology derived from that used by Toyota’s Le Mans race car.

The Supra will be the product of a joint venture between Toyota and BMW, a project that’ll also spawn the next-generation BMW Z4.

It’s understood that the co-operation between the two carmakers extends to chassis development and petrol-electric hybrid engines. That means the Supra and Z4 will look very different. The Supra will be based on an extended chassis, making it the larger of the two cars.

The Supra will mark the return of the high-performance Toyota coupe. The last model, which offered acceleration to rival a Porsche 911, has since achieved cult status. The new model will sit above the Toyota GT86 coupe in the manufacturer’s range.

New Toyota Supra engine, drive and performance

Although no specifications for the new Supra have been revealed, we understand it’ll use a petrol-electric hybrid engine. This will power the rear wheels, while electric motors will drive the front wheels, much like the setup in the Toyota TS050 Hybrid Le Mans race car.

The Supra will also use a regenerative braking system to charge its batteries when slowing down. The batteries will be of a lithium-ion type, which opens the door to Toyota offering the option of a plug-in hybrid, allowing the Supra to behave like a fully electric vehicle over a short distance.

The Toyota/BMW tie-up also covers the development of fuel-cell technology, making a hydrogen-powered Toyota Supra a possibility, too.

Toyota’s first dual-clutch automatic gearbox will be fitted to the new Supra, marking a shift from the slurring CVT-type gearbox that has traditionally compromised the enjoyment of driving its hybrids.

Like the Toyota GT86, the Toyota Supra will prioritise driving enjoyment and Toyota is thought to be targeting a weight of just 1,400kg. That’s less than a Porsche 911, Audi R8 or Jaguar F-Type.

A BMW insider told Carbuyer’s sister title Auto Express that the Z4 will use: “the same lightweight body construction as the i3 and i8“. That means both cars will use the know-how BMW has gleaned from its investment in carbon-fibre technology.

Design and styling

The Toyota Supra is widely expected to adopt the look of the Toyota FT-1 concept (pictured), albeit slightly toned down, which was first shown at the Detroit Motor Show in 2014.

With striking styling, the FT-1 boasted a retractable rear wing to aid high-speed stability and large intakes to provide cooling for the brakes and engine. The concept featured a wraparound windscreen and its side windows were a nod to Toyota’s first sports car, the 2000GT.

The driver sits low in the passenger compartment, helping to lower the car’s centre of gravity and the FT-1 also featured advanced technology including a head-up display.

Release date

Insiders have suggested both the Toyota Supra and BMW Z4 will go on sale in 2018, likely within a few months of each other.