Home » Let’s Raid The BMW Parts Bin To Make A Real Toyota Supra GT

Let’s Raid The BMW Parts Bin To Make A Real Toyota Supra GT

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Over the years, there have been some bizarre car brand mash-ups. Naturally, some have worked better than others.

The Saab 9-2X “Saaburoo” has to be considered a success: a Subaru Imprezza WRX modified to fit the more upscale Swedish car brand. Somehow the quirkiness of the Subie was something sorely missing in the GM-based Saabs offered at the time.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The Alfa Romeo ARNA was just the opposite. Whose idea was it to combine the worst parts of a sub-par Italian car experience (rust-prone steel, a rather throbby engine, and unreliable electrics) with the least appealing elements one might encounter in a Japanese car – as in bland styling and soggy handling?

Mash Up 5 19
Saab, Alfa

Currently, Toyota sells another improbable mash-up in the form of the Supra. The flashy skin doesn’t give anything away, but below the body panels, it’s mechanically identical to a BMW Z4.

2024 Toyota Gr Supra (3) 22
Toyota
Z4 5 24 2
BMW

Performance and handling are undeniably impressive; you might consider it to be a success, but for me the new Supra was and is a bit of a letdown. Surprisingly, my disappointment has nothing to do with the reformatted German-car lineage. My issue is with what the new Supra most essentially is: a full-on sports car in a small package with just two seats. And that isn’t really a Supra, if we’re going by what the Supra used to be.

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It Was The Celica XX In Japan, So You Knew It Was Serious

To those of a certain age, the Supra was always a four-seat grand touring car. The short-lived first one (1979-81) was almost a more capable personal luxury car than GT, but things changed quickly. My personal favorite is the angular second-generation A60 model, the kind we either rode in the back of as kids or tried desperately to get our dads to buy (I did). I love the styling of this still-underappreciated car for two big reasons: First, it’s one of the few cars that successfully embrace a pure Japanese style. The A60’s origami-folded shape and the blunt nose seemed to celebrate the culture that created it rather than emulate some European or American design.

1984 Toyota Celica Supra (1) 5 21 2

1984 Toyota Celica Supra 5 21
Garage Kept Motors

Second, if you look closely at the detailing, the A60 Supra is trying to channel what is now the most valuable Japanese car ever produced: the 1967 Toyota 2000GT. Predating Nissan’s 240Z, examples of this lovely GT car now sell for over a million dollars; the $2.4 million needed to buy a Shelby modified one a little while back was reportedly the highest price ever recorded for the sale of a Japanese-built car.

2000gt Front 3

2000gt Rear
RM Sotheby’s via The Robb Report

Side-by-side pics prove it out. The 2000GT’s low front driving lights, the wraparound signals and pop-up headlights above are all echoed in the 1982-86 Supra:

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1984 Toyota Celica Supra Compare 5 21 (3)

In the back, the kink in the rear quarter window and the faired-in rear marker lights are also angular interpretations of what is now apparently Japan’s most valuable classic car.

1984 Toyota Celica Supra Compare Rear 5 21

Exactly why Toyota would choose to ignore such a landmark car from their past today is beyond me, and we can fix that right now.

It’s Not Like You’ll Miss Those Damn BMW Nostrils

Could we make a “Supra GT” to sell alongside the current model? At around six inches longer than the Toyota GR86, the latest Supra is larger and more powerful than that tossable little coupe but far more expensive and actually less useable as a “real” car; it lacks much interior space or any kind of back seat. That’s fine, but there’s a bigger market for cars like the first four generations of Supra served that’s being missed.

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Actually, Toyota hasn’t had any reasonably-sized coupe on offer since the Solara, which was much more of a LeBaron-adjacent thing than a grand touring car. Nobody is exactly clamoring to make non-SUV cars of any type right now, but I feel like the market for the little Z4-based coupe is even more limited to a very small number of buyers.

Z4 Compare 2

What do we start with?  As I’ve said, “real” (1982-98) Supras were larger cars than the one being produced now; the current 4-Series BMW is actually about the perfect size if we’re going to base this Supra GT on another Roundel-logoed car. A foot and a half longer than the Z4/latest Supra, it doesn’t have limo-like space in back, but it at least has a rear seat.

Bmw 4 Series 5 19
BMW

However, for the Supra GT we’d use a body style that BMW doesn’t offer. One reason why BMW was apparently fine sharing the Z4 with Toyota to make the current Supra was that they didn’t intend to ever go Clown Shoe and offer a hardtop version of their two-seater, so the closed-coupe-only Supra would be for a different market. My feeling is that the same thing could apply with the Supra GT.

You see, BMW sells two body styles of the 4 series: a two-door fastback coupe with the expected silly-small trunk lid as well as a four-door hatchback “coupe”. A two-door hatchback of this series of BMW isn’t offered by the Munich-based brand; there’s no reason this concept Supra GT couldn’t be such a layout as it wouldn’t be stepping on BMW’s toes, right? Fold down the rear seatbacks and you’d have some impressive cargo capacity, too.

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Could Ya Tone It Down A Bit?

Full disclosure: I really don’t like the looks of the latest Supra. Halfway through doing one of those things where I make callouts to point at various elements that are objectionable like the nose and that too-thick sheet metal above the side windows, I realized there was no point in the exercise. Every surface is covered in some kind of scoop or slot or bump or cut line, and the tail features a spoiler with narrow proportions so it seems like the back of a running shoe. I can’t tell if I like the basic shape since I’m not even able to see what the “basic shape” is. Besides, even if you yourself might look cool behind the wheel of one, as a fifty-something director with two kids I’d appear rather ridiculous driving something this boy-racerish.

Obviously, the current Supra’s styling has its fans, but we’ve raved about the clean, understated shape of the latest Prius. In comparison with Toyota’s tastefully simple hybrid sedan, the new Supra is the total opposite, looking a bit like a prop from Tokyo Drift or from whatever the latest Forza game is.

2024 Toyota Gr Supra (1) 5 24 2
Toyota

The design is possibly supposed to evoke the last fourth-generation Supra. However, the A80 model is a far more refined and less fussy design than the current Supra and, at least in my unpopular opinion, the old 1994-8 Supra was not exactly the masterpiece some people think it is to begin with. Yes, I know the Fast And The Furious model has a big following, but even when new I thought it looked rather fat and blobby compared to its competitors at the time. There’s much more tension in the lines of the lithe-looking third-generation RX7, the elegant Z32 300ZX, and even BMW’s own restrained but aggressive E36 M3.

A80 Supra 5 21
Toyota

For this larger Supra GT concept, I’ve leaned on the simplicity of the Prius and combined it with characteristics of their famous 2000GT, overlaid onto the BMW 4 Series coupe chassis. Only the windshield from the BMW 4-series remains unchanged, but the wheelbase is the same and the nose is only slightly longer on the rebodied Toyota version (which allows for the lower-looking nose while still clearing the hard points on the BMW).

New Supra Gt 5 24

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The 2000GT is saluted with the wraparound signals and large, low driving lights in the grille built into the flexible nose. LED headlamps would either pop out of slots on the hood or the slats would drop to reveal the thin slits of light. See all of the surface detailing, plus the narrow side windows and protruding F1 car-style nose? No, of course you don’t, because this Supra GT features absolutely none of that. “So, it’s a fast coupe for old guys?” you ask. Maybe, and if that were the case what would be wrong with that? Don’t forget that mature buyers are more likely to have the $65,000 or so needed to buy one – much more likely.

Note that we’ve even added a logo on the front fenders that echoes the one from the classic 1967 2000GT, though ours would include an amber turn signal repeater:

Logos 5 19 3

The rear also takes cues from the 2000GT and even the fourth-generation Supra model with groupings of round taillamps under the hatch opening. Yes, we’ve also put side marker lights into the “exhaust vents” on the rear fenders as another nod to the 2000GT and A60 Supra. The hatch opening extends to the taillights for as low a liftover as possible (again, far more useable cargo area than the identical-under-the-skin 4 Series).

Supra Rear 5 23

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Your Logo Says Toyota But Your iDrive Does Not

While I might not be a huge fan of that fourth-gen nineties Supra’s exterior, the wraparound “arch” of the dash was always rather appealing to me, far more than the latest model.

Supra Dash 5 19
Toyota

Honestly, searching online I’ve found very few fans of the dashboard of the current Supra. Nothing about it says “sports car.” Overall, it looks like BMW controls scattered across a Corolla instrument panel.

Let’s start with the BMW 4 Series dash we’ll have to build on the components of:

2025 Bmw M440i Coupe Interior 65b931d404975
BMW

Here’s our Toyota version of the Supra GT. A few places online have tried to apply some of that “arc” look of the 1993 Supra dash to the current Supra, but rather unsuccessfully. I’ve taken it a bit further on this 4 Series-based GT with the full arc that starts at the console and terminates at the power window switches on the driver’s door; a “sweep” that envelopes the driver and unifies all of the parts instead of the disjointed mishmash of shapes (including the ever-popular stuck-on-flat-screen). Clean is the word of the day.

2024 Gt Interior 5 24

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The large screen continues from the A-pillar all the way over the passenger’s side of the dash. Naturally one of the many modes offered for the driver’s display would be gauges similar to a third or fourth-generation Supra with the familiar Toyota numbers font. Somehow anything with that type gives me a feeling of implied reliability, even if the car behind the digits is actually a BMW.

The BMW straight six would be the only engine available in another nod to the original Toyota coupes. You’d have the turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder with 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque from an M440i as standard, and rear wheel drive is the only option. Could BMW let Toyota have the M4’s more powerful motor for a “Supra GT-S” and not steal from the famous BMW’s sales? The way I see it, a BMW engine sold is a BMW engine sold, regardless of what the badge on the car says.

Match Made In Heaven Or Unholy Alliance?

I recall that in the early nineties, there was at least one publication that compared the then-new Supra to the also just-introduced similar-sized E36 M3. The BMW won the comparison, but the Supra didn’t make it an easy fight. I never, ever thought that one day BMW and Toyota (TMW?) would be teaming up to create a car together, but somehow here we are.

There’s nothing wrong with a Z4, but I really wish that the successor to the Supra’s M3 rival could have been the BMW that was resurrected to make the new Toyota sports coupe. Fans of the “real” Supras need to see that before internal combustion GT coupes go away forever.

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BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
23 days ago

https://youtu.be/OgIMJcBpqKI?si=RuCtqZtpvXYBB7I6 Awesome tribute to a great-looking car.

That trailing edge on the trunk of the white car needs a little help though. It looks like a rookie with a press break made it.

Cyko9
Cyko9
25 days ago

I didn’t notice for a long time that the latest Supra wasn’t just an body update of the Toyobaru 86. Seriously, I’d have to see them side-by-side to accept that the Supra is the larger, more capable of the two. So I love the GT approach for redesigning the Supra. Although I love the 2000GT, I think this leans a little too heavy into the nostalgia. The front needs a little less and the back needs a little more, then these would’ve been ready to sell without competing against Miatas.

Davey
Davey
25 days ago

I buy my Toyota’s specifically because they don’t have BMW mechanicals.

Spectre6000
Spectre6000
25 days ago
Reply to  Davey

This is the exact thought I was expecting from a typical Toyota buyer/owner. I kinda wondered if they were banking on the typical buyer not paying enough attention to realize the tie up in the first place. That said, it was in the rags a few months back that BMW has risen the ranks to be one of the most reliable OEMs though while Toyota has only been upper middle pack for a good decade or more now. I’ve had a few Toyotas and a few BMWs. Personally, I’ll take the bimmers.

SooperDooperPooperScooter
SooperDooperPooperScooter
25 days ago
Reply to  Spectre6000

I think the main point isn’t necessarily reliability as we think of it traditionally, but rather the cost of the repairs themselves. I feel like these will require far more dollars per repair compared to say, an 86.

Spectre6000
Spectre6000
24 days ago

Ah. Interesting. I would actually think it would be the other way around. BMW parts aren’t all that expensive, though I can’t say I’ve ever directly purchased any Subaru parts, just assuming based on a thorough sampling of various OEMs over the years. What I CAN say is that BMWs are usually very easy to work on. Subarus can be easy, but they can also be a royal PITA (looking at you, if I could see you through the wheel wells without a ton of disassembly, spark plugs!). Parts are rarely the expensive part of a job though (another thing I’ve never paid for directly), and I think I’d take the BMW here too. Worst case scenario, assuming it’s all being done at a dealer at eye watering prices with gorilla labor, I’d say the BMW would be CHEAPER to have worked on job for job if you ignore things like cylinder count. I’d be more worried about how well things stand up to the abuse of the monkeys after a hundred thousand miles worth of repairs and maintenance. I think the BMW with its low torque specs and special (torx/e-torx mostly) fasteners would take quite a beating at the hands of your typical Toyota dealership’s knuckle draggers. Both will suffer somewhat from the out of family lack of familiarity, but the BMW will also suffer from an extra dose of rarity…

Space
Space
25 days ago

It beats a BMW designed exterior with BMW parts.

Al Camino
Al Camino
25 days ago

I love this new Supra GT idea and rendering. I wish the current Supra had been an A60 based origami design. As it stands, I would not want to be seen driving either the Supra or 4 Series, I’m just not a fan of either.
I see some hints of the Ferrari 365 GTC/4 in your Supra proposal, but maybe I never realized just how much the 2000 GT influenced the Ferrari, and that influence is what I’m seeing.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
25 days ago

I’ll take anything over the current pile of lumps, but honestly, the Supra has never been a good looking car in any iteration except the very first when it was still a stretched Celica with a 6. But I agree, lean in on 2+2 GT. Let the BRZ86 carry the sports car role.

Pappa P
Pappa P
25 days ago

I really love the styling of the new Supra, even if I wasn’t convinced at first.
It’s profile and stance make it very striking in person.
The Z4 on the other hand is not a good looking car. It’s too boring new BMW, and fails to live up to the original Z3 styling wise.
One early evening, I spotted what was clearly a black Supra far in the distance. As I approached closer, excited to lay my eyes on a nice MKIV, I was greeted by a BMW Supra. At that point the styling really made sense to me.
Only thing the Supra needs is a Toyota interior and a Toyota TT V6 under the hood. I know I6 purists would disagree, but it worked for the legendary GTR.
The 2JZ isn’t legendary just because it’s an I6, it’s legendary because it’s a Toyota.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
25 days ago

I like your interior – but your exterior is just Chris Bangle Fiat minus-the-random-slashes Bad.

Really Bad.

See that 1967 Mazda Luce Coupe?
More like that please.

Joe L
Joe L
25 days ago

The point of getting a Toyota sports car is getting a sports car made out of Toyota parts.

I have a much easier method – take the Lexus LC500, shorten the wheelbase by excising the back seats, and offer a manual transmission behind that wonderful 5.0L DOHC V8, maybe tuned for a bit more power and response at the high end.

Less sound deadening, less luxury, and more lightweight components. Shape it as close to the 2000GT as you can make it look good on that platform, and call it the Toyota 5000GT.

Toecutter
Toecutter
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe L

Keep it SMALL like the 2000 GT. Perhaps not as small as the 2000 GT given current regulations, but Miata-sized, wrapped around that gloriously large V8. THEN improve upon the 2000 GT’s aero slipperiness. The 2000 GT had a CdA value of 0.54 m^2. Something sized like a modern Miata could get there with a sub-0.29 Cd value.

You could have this thing weighing around 2,500 lbs. And it would be utterly glorious.

Goof
Goof
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe L

The LC is TNGA-L, which is shared with the LS, Crown Sedan (JP/CN) and Mirai.

I’m not sure a full-size executive car platform is the best starting point for a sports car. It’s like starting with a sumo wrestler for a horse racing jockey.

The LC convertible already has 1990s-esque cowl shake as it is, despite bracing.

Last edited 25 days ago by Goof
Toecutter
Toecutter
25 days ago
Reply to  Goof

I prefer the S-FR as a starting point. Except 5.0L V8 underneath.

Joe L
Joe L
24 days ago
Reply to  Goof

Fair enough, perhaps Mazda’s RWD platform that was intended for a new Mazda6 but currently is just used in the CX-70/90 would work, plus they’ve got their own inline-6.

The Dude
The Dude
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe L

Not that I’m in the market for a Supra, but that’s what would keep me from buying one if I were. I buy a Toyota for their engineering and consider their engineering far superior to BMW’s.

Joe L
Joe L
24 days ago
Reply to  The Dude

Agreed, I know the LC500 isn’t that sporty, but I’d buy a used one of those over the new Supra.

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
25 days ago

Better way (and historically relevant), take the GT86, stretch the front, install inline 6.

Joe L
Joe L
25 days ago
Reply to  TXJeepGuy

Better yet, Mazda’s inline-6 and RWD platform are right there. They’re the ones to pair with on a sports car!

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
25 days ago

Raid the Toyota parts bin instead. The biggest problem with the new Supra is that it’s not a Toyota 🙁

Toyota makes the best cars. BMW doesn’t.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
26 days ago

I especially like the low fog lamps in the grille. Kinda gives it a Nurse Shark face.

Bracq P
Bracq P
25 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

So 2000 GT, not many can pull it of so convincingly!

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
26 days ago

I want to appreciate two things out loud: that you appreciate the subtle differences that make all the difference between an ugly-boxy Arna and a handsome-boxy Supra, and calling out the “more is more” philosophy that seems to have taken up root like a toxic brainworm in designer’s minds the last several years.

It’s like that math problem where you’re trying to make the path around a cross section of toroid (a circle slice from a donut) the distance it had as a cylinder, so you add ridges to the toroid. You end up adding creases to creases to creases and there is (I think mathematically but I’m talking out of my ass here) no one point that’s on the same tangent plane as any neighboring point. Creases, all the way down. Why is smooth and simple bad?

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
26 days ago

The ’90s Supra dash is one of my all time favorites. It just looks fighter jet by way of anime, with a dash of Euro sporting, so I love the Bishop-verse interpretation of that ethos.

But tell me I can configure the screen to put the tach right in the middle? Always loved that about the old one…

Tim R
Tim R
26 days ago

I still love the A60 model. I wish I’d bought one used when I got out of college in the early 90s

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
26 days ago
Reply to  Tim R

Same. They were being practically given away back then, nobody wanted them b/c they seem so dated and (gasp) straight-edged.

OSpazX
OSpazX
26 days ago

When I first saw the new Z4, I think I almost threw my spine out of alignment, such was the head snap. It looks mature. Sure, it’s a 2 seater, so it’s not really an “Executive” vehicle, but rather it’s the car she/he owns themselves, something for fun on the weekends. Something… mature.

When I see a Supra…. eeeehhhh. Just looks like something a new driver, through their 20s, would drive. Once they add a Fart Can. And some stripes. And, if we were a few years in the past, some nice big Spinners. A “boy racer” car.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
26 days ago

Far too pretty, would never sell. Needs at least 12 additional fake plastic air vents and approximately 17.6% more miscellaneous unnecessary creases and bulges in the sheet metal

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
26 days ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

It sure is interesting how times change. Back in the ’90s, the Supra was seen as a performance car mostly b/c of its performance; the design was considered fairly ho-hum with the most striking thing being the big-for-its-time spoiler.

Now, it seems impossible to make a performance car that doesn’t immediately look like something a bored teenager would draw in their notebook (on their tablet?) during class. You get the sense that actual performance, or at least all-around performance isn’t really even the driver of market success anymore.

Last edited 26 days ago by Jack Trade
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