The Toyota Supra Won’t Get All Of BMW’s Updates, So What Was The Damn Point?

The Toyota Supra Won’t Get All Of BMW’s Updates, So What Was The Damn Point?
Photo: Toyota

Some hardcore Toyota Supra enthusiasts are bothered that the current model doesn’t have a Toyota inline-six, largely wasn’t even developed by Toyota, and is, under the skin, mostly a BMW. And now it looks like it’s an old BMW, at that.

The Toyota Supra has many defensible merits. It was tuned by Toyota separate from BMW, and does offer a different overall driving experience compared to its cousin and organ donor, the BMW Z4. It’s a fun car! And the greatest defence of the Toyota-BMW partnership was giving enthusiasts the new low-volume sporty models they want, dividing up the costs between the partners.

And for some, that seemed to be enough. The car drives well, looks striking, and will soon be available with multiple options including a new entry-level option. A lot of that likely would have been too expensive for Toyota to justify offering on its own.

But if the entire point of the partnership was two new models with a shared lifecycle and minimized costs, why are we just now learning the Toyota Supra won’t receive all of the BMW Z4's updates, like Android Auto?

From Roadshow:

The co-developed BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra sports cars share a number of things, from engines to suspension parts to interior switchgear. But while the Z4 uses BMW’s latest iDrive 7 infotainment tech, the Supra relies on the German company’s iDrive 6 software. And that isn’t going to change.

That’s especially important to note now, as BMW recently announced it’ll begin offering Android Auto on its iDrive 7-equipped cars in July — wirelessly, too. Android Auto is not included with iDrive 6, including the Supra, meaning Toyota’s coupe won’t be available with this smartphone-mirroring tech. Meanwhile, Apple CarPlay is standard.

How is that even possible?

“We’re always looking to see what’s possible,” Ben Haushalter, Toyota’s senior manager of vehicle product planning, told Roadshow in a press conference Monday. But the company has no immediate plans to put iDrive 7 tech in the Supra, and Haushalter said it isn’t a priority.

“We’re collecting customer feedback to see if that’s something they’re interested in,” Haushalter said. “We visited over a dozen dealers ... we met with owners. Honestly, the Android Auto question hasn’t come up as huge detractors so far.”

Why is this even a decision that’s waiting to be made? How is it not an automatic agreement that any significant software upgrades on one model of the car also be applied to the other model of the car, especially considering they’re even built on the same assembly line, where they’re mapped with the software right next to each other!

How is that not the whole damn point of this entire arrangement? It’s just so bewildering.

I’ve been to the Magna Steyr factory before. I’ve talked to the operations managers. This shouldn’t even be an issue, but I guess bureaucracy always finds a way.