NEWS: Toyota is making a Celica, but they’re not calling it that

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.

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20 Responses to NEWS: Toyota is making a Celica, but they’re not calling it that

  1. Joel L. Rollins said:

    Celtics Supra all over again

  2. dbdr said:

    It has so much potential to be a great car but it has one major flaw: no manual!

    I don’t understand why one would make an automatic sports car in the first place but to make it the only option is simply ridiculous. Clearly it’s not a car made for high-speed records so why make it less fun on purpose?

    • Yuri said:

      After driving an automatic 86 in Japan, I wouldn’t kick a good paddle-shifted sports car out of my garage.

      • dbdr said:

        Would you have it over a manual one, though? On a grand tourer it’s understandable but on a reasonably powered sports car I just don’t get it. Having an automatic option is fine, but completely abandoning the manual just seems stupid to me. Especially as the people who typically buy cars like this actually do want them as manuals.

  3. ish said:

    I feel like america has had a few cars in the past that only came in auto’s then proceeded to fail because of that even after the company added a manual option the initial interest was gone. The SS, the G8, some BMWs. I feel like this is going to end up in the “id buy one if it was manual” group. Then they’ll update it just in time for it to be old news.

    • Vaughn Schittin Jr. said:

      I couldn’t agree more…or say it any better myself.

      Although, I’m starting to get a clearer idea of what they’re doing. For better or…(who am I kidding) FOR UNDOUBTEDLY WORSE they’re setting it up to be another geezer-mobile. It’s gonna be Toyota’s version of a 370z (and all the domestics you mentioned) and priced accordingly.

      The tuners aren’t gonna give up their legit cars for this thing. Manual option + the cache of the name would’ve helped, but they’re already stumbling right outta the gates.

      These are artificially confusing times.

    • Christopher Huffine said:

      2015-17 Impala SS was available with a Tremec 6-speed manual and the 415HP 6.2 LS V-8….

      • Jimbo said:

        That wasn’t an Impala. It was just an “SS”. The Impala is still the same relatively bland FWD car we’ve known for years now.

  4. Judy fuller said:

    I have a 1991 celica convertible she’s beautiful

    • dbdr said:

      I’d rather have one 1991 Celica than ten of these. I don’t think the new one is too bad but the old ones will always be the best!

  5. Cho said:

    Now we need NIssan to stop with the CUV/SUV and make the IDX(510) and a new 240/180sx(Siliva). Mazda new MX-6(Ford Prode but way better).

  6. Alex said:

    Let’s not forget though, how many racing Supras were swapped with the 3SGTE for weight savings? Yeah yeah, it’s not real without an in-line 6 or crazy hp, but if they made one with a turbo 4… and an engine that could easily be modded for 500plus hp?
    I just don’t car for the new body style. Looks like a stretched Z4. A bigger GT86 would have been cooler.
    Just my opinion.

  7. krzysiu said:

    I think Tada’s statement about buying the 4 cylinder was more or less to tell consumers to try and see if they like that option vs. just doing the swap outright. The power/displacement ratio is pretty close to the ecoboost Mustang and people seem to be pretty happy with that one. I totally agree that there should be a division when it comes to the name… maybe in a few years they’ll look different enough and the Celica will come with an all-trac option… probably wishful thinking though.

  8. Lee LeTourneau said:

    Pretty funny that even the chief engineer knows and accepts that people are going to 2JZ swap it and tells consumers who plan to do this to buy the 4 cylinder model to save money.

  9. Alvin said:

    Or you could call it a Celica Supra like the good old days…

  10. John M Anderson said:

    This car’s failure has little to do with a manual transmission. GT R has no manual and it’s a highly desirable car. Know several folks who own them and absolutely love it. This car will fail because Toyota expects it to fail…which is why they conducted a joint venture with BMW, which is why pulled parts from the BMW garbage bin.

    When has a designer from another manufacturer told people to buy a lesser model so you can do an engine swap? Will the engine mate to a BMW tranny? Why not just offer a Toyota engine to begin with? I had high hopes…total let down for me. I will stick with the F marque.

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