It was five 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.
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But earlier this year at the annual Villa d’Este event BMW has unveiled a concept version of their new Z4 Roadster. The beautiful concept previews the production car which goes on sale in 2018, just months before its Japanese counterpart. Both cars share most of their chassis bits with each other, possibly suspension bits as well, and will also share technology.
Yet according to BMW, the driving characteristics of the two sports car is quite different. Speaking exclusively to CarAdvice, BMW Group Australia CEO Marc Werner said the new Z4 will still be “an ultimate driving machine”.
As BMW ramps up co-development of the next-generation BMW Z4 with Toyota, BMW’s local boss wants to assure purists that the final Z4 product won’t be anything like its Japanese counterpart.
“It’s definitely economies of scale [the reason for this collaboration],” Werner said.
“Product development of each and every car costs you a couple of billion dollars, and the roadster segment is unfortunately declining over the last couple of years — not only for us [BMW], but each and every manufacturer.
“So we decided to join forces with Toyota, as far as the development process is concerned. As far as the design is concerned, it will be absolutely unique. Not only in terms of design, but how they drive and how they handle.”
The Aussies also brought up the similarities between the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ, an indication of how deep previous Toyota collaborations have run, but Werner promised the connection between the two vehicles would be far harder to identify.
“It will be absolutely a unique BMW product, as you would expect,” Werner said.