Back in 2012, BMW and Toyota announced a partnership to work on a next generation sports car to replace the aging Z4 for BMW and to become the next Supra for Toyota. Further details have been trickling in at a glacial pace since then, but things have been heating up a bit as of late.
News has broke, from sources at both companies, that there will be a joint platform used to create both cars. The platform will be scalable and will be able to create two different sports cars in two different segments. “The one thing we’re clear on now is that a platform for both companies can work,” says BMW Board Member, Ian Robertson. He also goes on to say “The cars in themselves don’t actually need to be positioned the same. The platform can spawn two positionings.”
The car in question for BMW would be a Z4 replacement, and will most likely use a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. However, no details have been given about actual development or specs. However, the engine in the Supra successor is said to be a turbocharged inline-six developed by BMW. If the idea of a BMW powered Supra is getting you excited, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
According to Robertson, there has been no determination as to where the development of these two vehicles will occur or who will develop them. However, he did suggest that one plant will develop both vehicles. It’s just unknown whether BMW or Toyota will head development and if the plant will be in either Europe, the United States or Japan. Both companies will look at the biggest markets to determine the best location for development.
Another interesting aspect of this joint venture is Lexus. Being a part of the Toyota group, Lexus has access to Toyota platforms and parts. As is stands now, Lexus does not have access to this joint venture program, but Lexus’s European boss, Alain Uyttenhoven seems to think it may be a possibility in the future. “We are one company and our head is Akio Toyoda, and we could do it. Right now, we are not going to have a common platform between BMW and Lexus. Purely speaking, though, we have access to everything which is Toyota,” he said.
This must be something BMW has already accounted for, as I’m sure the folks in Bavaria aren’t willing to hand over a carbon fiber intensive platform of theirs directly to a competitor. With the IS and RC F, Lexus is closer than ever to becoming a threat to BMW, so it’s not likely that BMW is unaware of the possibility of Lexus using one of its platforms.
The idea of BMW and Toyota joining together in creating a sports car platform is an interesting one. Both companies have excelled over the years in making rear-wheel drive platforms, and more recently, Toyota developed one in joint with Subaru. BMW also has experience supplying engines for other high-performance cars, like the McLaren F1. The idea of a BMW powered Supra is an incredible one, and if Toyota can help BMW bring the cost down on its hybrid technologies, then cars like the i3 and i8 will be even more affordable. This seems like a win-win, for BMW, Toyota and car enthusiasts everywhere.
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