The new Toyota Supra has been launched in a few markets now, and depending on which part of the internet you direct your browser to, you’ll either get immensely positive reviews or the opposite of that.

One constant that is found in these articles (including this one) is the mention of BMW’s involvement in the Supra’s development process. From the chassis to the inline-six engine, and even several parts of the cabin, the mark of the German carmaker isn’t hard to miss.

Naturally, some Toyota fans haven’t been very receptive of the new sports car, insisting that the company should have done all the work themselves. Well, this matter was brought up to the chief engineer of the Supra – Tetsuya Tada – by Japanese Nostalgic Car, who attempted to explain Toyota’s decision to partner up.

According to Tada-san, the idea for a partnership began in 2012, but it took two years for both companies to even agree on how to build a car together. However, further disagreements on the type of car to build – Toyota wanted a pure sports coupe – lead to stalled discussions, delaying the project even further.

A change of management at BMW later on allowed talks to restart, and the two companies decided to build cars to take on the Porsche 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster. Toyota would go after the former with its Supra, while the Z4 will compete against the latter.

A further disagreement on the type of platform to use resulted in a bespoke option, which featured a short wheelbase but wide track. From then on, both teams went their own direction, with the tuning of the engine, suspension, steering and body rigidity all undertaken by Toyota.

Throughout all this, Tada-san always insisted on using an inline-six engine as a sign of respect to his mentor Ichiro Suzuki, the Toyota engineer responsible for the previous A80 Supra. There are other reasons too, namely that the inline-six is a rather balanced engine and that “the sound is amazing,” Tada-san says.

The thing is, Toyota had already closed its plant that makes inline-six engines, as it has already been ten years since the A80 went out of production. So, to make Toyota-built car (without BMW involvement), would require a new facility be built just to make the engine needed.

Tada-san stated it was a non-issue to invest in such a plant, but it’s the matter of timing that was more pressing. “If we had gone that route, the car would not be done, even today. It wouldn’t be out for at least a few more years. The problem is, you can’t sell a car like I showed you today in 2021. Safety and emissions regulations are getting tighter and tighter every year,” he said.

“We wanted to sell this car around the world. I already knew that 2019 to 2020 would be the deadline for this kind of car. It would be my last chance to develop a sports car of this kind, especially globally. So, I prioritized the time window first. After that, I made no compromises,” he continued.

The Toyota engineer’s development process for the A90 even involved tuning houses, with many parts of the vehicle ready to receive modifications. “I went to individual people in charge of various aftermarket companies and made sure it was a welcoming car to tune,” said Tada-san.

“I made certain all the necessary reinforcements to turn it into a race car were already installed. I invited all the major tuning houses in Japan to come look at it — Cusco, Trust, Fujitsubo, and so on — and everyone was surprised.”

“If we didn’t make this car, the aftermarket industry would wither in the coming years. I had to make it now, so those companies can survive, hopefully long enough to see the next sports car boom,” Tada-san explained.

Lastly, will there be a sixth-generation A100 Supra? Well, Tada-san says, “the A100 will come, one day, but the taste will probably be very different. It might be an EV, or autonomous, or like a Formula E car. Who knows. The A100 might take the Supra name in a drastically different direction. Definitely different from lineage of A70 and A80.”