Yesterday, BMW and Toyota announced a
partnership to develop a new joint sports car platform concept
for completion before the end of 2013. The new car will be a combination of both BMW and Toyota technology, but beyond that, it's still a mystery.
A connection to the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ is an obvious first thought, but the wording of the agreement hints that an all-new joint platform may be the desired product of the BMW-Toyota cooperation:
"The companies agreed to set-up a feasibility study to define a joint platform concept for a mid-size sports vehicle that is to be completed by the end of 2013. The two companies aim to combine each other’s technology and knowledge at a high level to maximize customer satisfaction. Both companies are to share the vision to further collaborate in the field of sports vehicle development."
The language is suitably vague and corporate to allow any number of interpretations, but given the successful execution of the FR-S/BRZ and BMW's own history in building sports cars, the results could be quite impressive.
In fact, the result could even yield a new Supra for Toyota. After all, few companies do the turbocharged inline six-cylinder as well as BMW these days, and that was the formula for the most famous of Supras, the 2JZ-powered Mark IV. Past hints at a Supra revival have pointed at a car styled after the FT-HS concept
from 2007. The revived Supra rumors also hint at a timeline
that works with the BMW-Toyota project.
Looking at the project in the other direction, a BMW-branded version of the car could be even more interesting--though where, exactly, in the re-numbered BMW lineup such a car might fit is anyone's guess. Could an 8-Series revival be in the works? With enough BMW-added value, an 8-Series-positioned car based on the joint platform could work, and moving significantly up-market from the Toyota offering would help differentiate the products.
Note: this is purely our own (wishful) conjecture, with no backing from either BMW or Toyota. But it's an interesting possibility, however improbable.
Whatever the result might be, this will be a very interesting space to watch. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.