Toyota FT-1 concept, 2014 Detroit Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
Toyota and BMW have confirmed that a common platform is in development for next-generation sports cars, thought to be for a new generation of the Toyota Supra based on this year's FT-1 concept and a replacement for BMW's Z4. According to Japan's Nikkei daily, the first fruits of each manufacturer's partnership could appear by 2017.
The two companies originally signed a memorandum of understanding in 2011, to collaborate on a number of different projects. Among those is a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, but a sports car was also proposed—immediately kick-starting rumors of a successor to the Supra sports car that ended production in 2002. There are few details available at present, but the vehicle is likely to use a traditional front-engined, rear-drive layout. Engine choices are up in the air, but the existing BMW Z4 uses a mix of four-cylinder and inline six-cylinder power units.
Each manufacturer stands to gain something from the partnership—Toyota will benefit from economies of scale and BMW's luxury vehicle expertise, while each manufacturer plans to discuss joint manufacturing and parts procurement.
It's likely that some form of hybrid technology will also make an appearance—BMW benefiting from Toyota's expertise in that particular area. Such a system could use super-capacitors to store charge generated by the engine—able to provide quick bursts of power to the rear wheels to assist the gasoline engine.