Automobile Magazine digs deeper into the partnership between BMW and Toyota.
While BMW and Toyota have acknowledged their joint project on a sportscar, the two companies are still being pretty tight-lipped when it comes details around the future car.
A source within BMW says that the project is not about a supercar, but rather “an innovative and emotional athlete for larger production.”
So what is known so far? The car will definitely make high use of lightweight materials, starting with carbon fiber and aluminum, and other parts inside the car. The low weight, matched to a front-engine, rear-wheel drive architecture will turn the car into a “fast athlete”, not only on track but on regular roads as well.
Under the hood, BMW is said to favor a supercharged version of the S55 3.0 liter inline six engine with nearly 400 horsepower.
So one may wonder what does Toyota bring to the table? In the past rumors revolved around hybrid technology along with sportscar knowledge from Supra and LFA, but Automobile Magazine asks the following question: Does BMW need Toyota in this deal?
At this point we can only report possibilities, not done deals. Those who pass through the R&D center in Munich will spot a growing number of Toyota GT86 (Scion FR-S) coupes with Belgian plates, a fleet of Toyota Verso vans with BMW diesel engines, and a solitary Lexus LFA. As with any partnership, each side has something the other wants. Toyota is primarily interested in BMW’s carbon-fiber innovations and its incomparable expertise in vehicle dynamics. BMW is keen to dig into Toyota’s research on fuel cells and hybrid drivetrains. Both parties, meanwhile, see an urgent need to update their sports car lineups.
With Toyota chipping in, though, BMW could develop a new lightweight, front-engine sports car architecture. It wouldn’t have anything to do with the 3-series/5-series — that’d be too close to the inner sanctum even for an ally. It would need to be cheap enough to underpin cars in the Z2 and Celica ranges but good enough to yield a 6-series replacement along with the belated successor to the Supra.
Although this looks like a win/win scenario, it is met with considerable resistance inside BMW.