Toyota has teamed up with BMW to develop a new sports car platform that will underpin a new Supra from the Japanese automaker and a replacement for the Z4 from the German side. BMW is thought to be doing most of the development work for the platform and engines that will power the cars, in return for hybrid and fuel cell technology from Toyota.
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Citing an inside source at Toyota, Japanese magazine Holiday Auto (via Motoring) claims the new Supra will feature a complex hybrid system combining a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine sourced from BMW with a trio of electric motors. In similar fashion to Acura’s new NSX, the new Supra will feature an electric motor at each of the front wheels and a third electric motor integrated with the engine and transmission.
The setup was previewed in last year’s Yaris Hybrid-R concept and a beefier version is featured in Toyota’s TS040 Hybrid Le Mans prototype. Incredibly, the setup relies on a supercapacitor to store electrical energy and this is expected to feature in the new Supra. A charging port will allow owners to plug the car into an electrical outlet, making the new Supra a plug-in hybrid. Peak output of the system is expected to be more than 350 horsepower, which might not sound like much but you have to factor in that the target weight for the car is less than 3,086 pounds.
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Despite a previous report claiming the BMW sports car will also get the technology, it’s now thought that the new Supra will be the only recipient. This makes sense in terms of vehicle differentiation: Toyota goes the all-wheel-drive, hybrid route for the new Supra, while BMW sticks with conventional powertrains (in-line four- and six-cylinder units) and rear-wheel drive for its Z4 replacement. Note, some suggest the Z4 replacement will be badged a Z5 to reflect its higher positioning in the BMW lineup and to leave room for a potential smaller roadster.
Both cars are expected to be revealed before 2017. Not much is known about the styling of the BMW, but for the Supra we can expect a look inspired by the lines of the FT-1 concept car unveiled earlier this year.