Matt Kimberley profile picture Matt Kimberley 2 years ago 56

Do We Really Benefit From New Car Data Leaks?

After the Toyota Supra was allegedly leaked earlier this week, we're left pondering whether these unscheduled and incomplete reveals are really any good for us

Remind me later
The FT-1 concept
The FT-1 concept

How would you feel if you were planning a special surprise for a friend, but someone else couldn’t keep their mouth shut and let the secret slip too soon? You’d be pretty annoyed, right?

That’s how Toyota must be feeling right now, if the apparent Supra MkV leak in Japan’s Best Car magazine is as accurate as we’re being led to believe. The FT-1 concept surfaced in 2014, so work on the new Supra was clearly going on for some time before that. The engineers’ well-earned sense of anticipation, built up over about five years of hard work, has been deflated like an old birthday balloon.

Do We Really Benefit From New Car Data Leaks? - Blog

As humans, we can empathise with that. When you’ve put all that effort in, to have your own rug swept out from beneath your feet is a bit unfair. On the other hand, we’re part of the automotive media. We have a responsibility to bring you the car news that affects and interests you. Judging by the scale of CTzens’ reaction to the two Supra stories we’ve posted this week, you really do care about this car.

Toyota’s loss, then, is your gain. You get to pore over the details before the appointed time. There’s the 335bhp BMW-sourced straight-six, the length and width boost versus the compact GT86, and a kerb weight that might just count against it, slightly. Those specs now reportedly include a 3.8-second 0-62mph time, too. But is there any space for compassion, even if it’s for a multi-national corporate leviathan?

Part of the alleged Best Car magazine leak
Part of the alleged Best Car magazine leak

Toyota had a chance to craft an elaborate reveal for the car. It would, and no doubt still will be a great show, full of light and spectacle. But the surprise; the thrill we might have felt at seeing the rebirth of a legend, won’t be there. The leak has taken it away.

Should you care that Toyota’s latest big day has been ruined? Should we? The morality of (usually web-based) leaks depends on which side of the fence you stand. You could say the car was fair game. It has been in real-world testing wearing camouflage for what seems like forever, so maybe some people would argue that it’s practically public anyway.

Do We Really Benefit From New Car Data Leaks? - Blog

Toyota’s supporters would say that it’s Toyota’s right to decide when the car bares all, and that that right has been taken away by a car magazine – and the viral hunger of the Internet. In that sense, if there’s guilt to be shared, then we have to share a part of it.

But we can’t simply ignore a leak when it happens. You wouldn’t want us to, would you? If the cat is already out of the bag, what’s the point in looking the other way?

With leaks on the web becoming more and more common, we want to ask you what you think. Would you prefer to wait for the full, official launch so you have all the data and you know it’s gospel, or do you hate the often lengthy build-ups and PR campaigns, and do you prefer all the info as soon as possible? Either way, for better or worse, the corporate leak seems to be a reality of the digital age.