The BMW-Toyota Sports Car project “has moved on to the concept phase and is running according to plan,” BMW said in a statement to Bloomberg News. A technical feasibility study that began in January 2013 has been “successfully completed.”
Toyota also confirmed that the project has moved beyond the feasibility stage, which was initially due to be completed by the end of 2013.
The two companies have been tight-lipped about details but the two companies say their partnership will last until at least 2020. In addition to the sports car, Toyota and the world’s biggest maker of luxury vehicles are cooperating on research into fuel cells, lightweight technology and lithium-air batteries. The two companies agreed to work together on lithium-ion batteries in 2012.
Speculations around the type of sports car developed have been running wild. Some sources mention the reborn again Toyota Supra and the BMW Z4 replacement (potentially called Z5) are due to appear within three years and BMW is leading the packaging and design of both cars. Toyota will contribute to the styling as well.
The design of the Z4 replacement’s body is taking priority in the creative process, and hence designers are focusing on perfecting a convertible design.
BMW brings to the table their knowledge in lightweight construction and the latest technology advancements from the i sub-brand.
This combination forms the basis of the collaborative effort in which the born-again Supra will benefit from BMW’s cutting-edge construction. Given the Z4 successor is being developed as a convertible, it stands to reason that the Supra will follow in the BMW’s footsteps.
Insiders say the Toyota’s engine and transmission will be supplied by BMW and that a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder unit will be the main powerplant.
The conventional engine will be paired with Toyota’s latest ‘super conductor hybrid’ technology, making the flagship sports car a plug-in hybrid delivering upwards of 260kW. This car incorporates a motor-generator mounted on the front axle, along with one in the rear. The two units scavenge energy by applying braking force during deceleration to generate current that it sends to a super-capacitor.
The super-capacitor then reverses that flow of power during acceleration, boosting the performance of the internal combustion engine’s power delivery.
The electric motors will be designed by Toyota but built by BMW, and both cars have a target weight of less than 1400kg.
At the same time, BMW sources are saying the BMW Z5 will feature a more radical front-mid-engine bias. Under the hood, it will feature a 2.0 liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine with three power stages: 190 hp, 245 hp and 270 hp. The engine will be matted to a ZF 8-speed automatic or six-speed manual.
Expect to see both joint-venture sports cars in showrooms by the end of 2017.