In car design, the term “power bulge” originally referred to a swollen area of the hood necessary to create clearance for an engine component or a larger, more powerful engine. Now the term could mean a mere cosmetic flourish to make a car look like it’s harnessing potent go. The 2020 Toyota Supra features a slight cosmetic bulge. A whopper of a report in Japan’s Best Car magazine (translated), via Motor1, says that come 2023, the Supra’s hood could get the kind of power bulge its buyers would love. That year is apparently when BMW’s M division will send Toyota 200 units of the 3.0-liter twin-turbo S58 engine for a special-edition Supra. What’s even stranger than all this is that the way Best Car has written its report (via Google Translate, naturally): Information on the engine export program came from Supra chief engineer Tetsuya Tada himself.
The S58 is right now being spread throughout the compact M lineup, next to appear in the M3 and M4 after debuting on the X3 M and X4 M. If we go back exactly one year, last July Autocar spoke to M division boss Markus Flasch about the chance of an M3-powered Supra. Flasch emphasized the small chance of such an eventuality, calling the hypothetical “an interesting idea, if unlikely for now. It would be a lot for us to give away, you might say.” Stressing the slim possibility, he added that his M team might not be happy about sharing its newest piece of work, before asking, “Why would we sell it before we had chance to use it ourselves in all the places we plan to?” Still, he didn’t rule it out, tempering all of his previous doubts with, “But I’d never say never.”
By 2023, though, the S58 will have been installed in all the places M has planned — at least, in all the places we know of so far. According to the magazine, execs at M resisted, but Tada convinced the Germans to relent. It’s also likely that by 2023, more powerful versions of the S58 will have appeared, so the Supra could get the ‘regular old’ inline-six. At the moment, that means output of either 473 horses and 442 pound-feet of torque, or 503 horsepower and 442 lb-ft when flicked into Competition guise. Either one would make a healthy upgrade over the 382 hp and 368 lb-ft in the current Supra, figures produced by BMW’s B58 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six that was the basis for the S58. The grunt gap won’t be so large in three years, though, Tada telling Autoblog last year, “With a sports car, the promise is to offer more performance with each additional version. And we can expect additional versions pretty much every year.”
Another odd bit in the Best Car piece is that Toyota will apparently hook the S58 to the seven-speed M-DCT transmission. The present M2 Competition uses that gearbox, being the last compact M in line to switch to the new regime. The new M cars moving to the S58, like the X3 M, X4 M, and coming M3 and M4, employ an eight-speed M Sport Steptronic torque-converter automatic as standard. If any of Best Car‘s information is true, it’s possible that Toyota sticking with a hand-me-down gearbox helped Tada convince M to open up the storehouse. The coming M3 and M4 will include the option for a manual transmission in lesser-powered trims, but it’s best to forget about a stickshift in a Supra, if only to forestall any disappointment.
The 200-unit production cap for a potentially 503-hp Supra might also have benefited the case — to stress, again, if any of this is true. A special edition dovetails with Best Car‘s trifecta of jaw-droppers, this being the penultimate line in the article: “The Supra GRMN, which will appear at least in 2023, will be the final edition of the current Supra.” Tada told Australia’s Motoring last year that he won’t develop a hybrid Supra because of the compromises required, which would put the Supra outside of Toyota’s global strategy to develop an electrified version of every model by 2025. An M-ified high-dollar Supra would ensure a bang instead of a whimper before the coupe goes out.
Best Car asked about a price of around 12 million yen, a little more than $112,000 U.S. That’s not apples-to-apples for a market comparison, since Japan’s 3.0-liter Supra starts at the U.S. equivalent of $69,399, and our entry-level Supra 3.0-liter begins at $50,990. If this unicorn Supra gets built and if it comes our way, though, a bulging premium should be expected, because with great power comes great MSRP.