The more news about the Supra that comes to light, the more head scratching it elicits. First there was the revelation that it wouldn’t come in a manual, then that it would race in NASCAR, and lest we forget, the entire thing is actually a thinly disguised BMW. Now, it has been discovered that it will have a four-cylinder option. A four-cylinder Supra is not a Supra. That, my friends, is a Celica.
Those who know Supra history know that it was born when Toyota decided to offer a six-cylinder version of its second-generation A40 Celica. Designed at Calty in southern California, it was called the Celica XX in Japan. But, back in the day “XX” also happened to be a rating for adult films, so in the US the car was renamed the Celica Supra. Toyota Supra: a name born from porn.
Yesterday Road and Track has unearthed a document from transmission manufacturer ZF that shows two engine options for the upcoming A90 Supra. In addition to the 335-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-six we already knew about, a second engine has appeared on the spec sheet. That engine would be a 262-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four.
That would seem to be the perfect description for a new Celica, but instead the document calls it a GT86. Could the four-cylinder Supra be a replacement for the next-generation Toyota 86? Even if it’s not, it could find itself in the awkward position of having a smaller engine than its little brother.
As we reported in April, Toyota and Subaru have already begun work on the next-generation BRZ/86, and they’re rumored to be fitting it with Subaru’s 2.4-liter boxer turbo, good for 260 horsepower. Perhaps the Supra’s chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada, sheds some light on why anyone would buy a four-cylinder Supra:
Tada also elaborated, saying the four-cylinder Supra will be lighter, with “much better weight distribution” and a sharper-feeling turn-in. Tada also remarked that, for the Supra owners who plan to swap in a 2JZ engine, “please buy the four-cylinder. It will be cheaper.”
So there you have it. Buy the four-cylinder, swap in a 2JZ, which after all these years is still a compelling powerplant, and make it real Supra.
Some images courtesy of Toyota.