Toyota brings back the Supra after 20 years

(CNBC) – With the new Supra sports car, Toyota is bringing back a car that is probably one of the Japanese automaker’s most beloved names.

But don’t expect it to be a huge seller, say analysts.

That is not because the car is a dud. It is expected to be a higher-end product and has been reported to have engines sourced from German manufacturer BMW.

But production is expected to be lower volume, and the car is likely to cater to enthusiasts and serve as a halo vehicle to create buzz for the rest of Toyota’s lineup.

The Supra is a resurrection of a car Toyota has not made since 2002. It began as a variant of Toyota’s now also defunct Celica in 1978, but was spun off as its own model in 1986. It became known as one of the most famous Japanese tuner cars of the ’80s and ’90s.

Apart from the reputation it earned on its own, the Supra also was famous for being featured in “The Fast and the Furious” movie franchise, in which it was driven by the late actor Paul Walker.

The car will go on sale this summer. It will have a 3.0-liter turbo six-cylinder 335-horsepower engine and an automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Toyota says the car should be able to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.1 seconds. It will have an electronically limited speed of 155 mph.

Buyers will have their choice of two trim levels, the base 3.0 model and a 3.0 Premium.

Toyota’s President Akio Toyoda tested the car himself on the famed Nurburgring track in Germany, as well as elsewhere around the world.

The car will likely not come cheap, and it is not meant to be a high-volume car, said LMC Automotive President of Global Forecasting Jeff Schuster.

“It’s absolutely for enthusiasts,” he said. “The name is one of those names that has some history to it. Obviously, not as much as a Mustang or a Challenger, but in its space of more of the super-tuner type of vehicle it carries a lot of weight. There is no question it will get a lot of buzz around it. But for all intents and purposes it is meant to be a small volume vehicle, at least from our expectation.”