It was four years ago when we first heard about BMW’s deal with Toyota to co-develop a sports car platform. In the official press release back then, neither of the automakers gave as much as of a hint as to what to expect from the venture and apparently, it wasn’t until the end of 2015 that the plans were finalized by the two parties themselves.
However, we have now seen prototypes being tested by both BMW and Toyota, and a lot of information about the project has become public over the past few months.
We tell you all that in this post…
From what we understand, since the new sports car will replace the Z4 (which was discontinued earlier this year), it will have the same name.
Meanwhile, Toyota recently applied to patent the legendary ‘Supra’ name in Europe and it is likely to be for this upcoming car.
The vehicles will be made by Magna Steyr at its facility in Graz, Austria, with 60,000 units to be built annually from 2018.
In case you are hearing about Magna Steyr for the first time- it is the largest contract manufacturer in the automotive industry, making components and entire vehicles for other carmakers. The folks there have been making the G-Wagen since 1979 and also manufactured the first-generation X3.
BMW will offer the new Z4 in both coupe and roadster variants and the latter will be getting a soft-top, which will help save weight and provide more trunk space.
The prototypes don’t really tell us much about the exterior styling of the cars since they are highly camouflaged. However, the dimensions of the new Z4 appear to be similar to its predecessor and the spy shots show an identical cabin as well.
Meanwhile, the Supra will be bigger than the Z4 in terms of size since Toyota wants it to sit above the GT-86 and will only be sold as a coupe. The design language of the Supra will be completely different to the Z4 as it will take cues from the FT-1 concept.
The Z4 is expected to come with two petrol engines: the 2.0-liter B48 and the 3.0-liter B58. In addition to that, a plug-in hybrid variant, equipped with Toyota-sourced electric motors, will make its way to the line-up. Considering the Japanese carmaker produces the world’s best-selling hybrid car (read: Prius), I think BMW is relying upon the right men for the job.
Power will be sent to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox and the targeted kerb weight is less than 1400 kg.
Moving on, we are not completely sure what powertrain(s) to expect from the Supra as a lot of varied reports are being passed around.
The Z4 will compete with the Porsche Boxster and Cayman, the Audi TT and the Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class.