BMW/Toyota Partnership To Spawn 2 Cars

 

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Way back in January 2013, Toyota and BMW announced a joint venture in which they would co-develop some sort of sport car. Since the announcement was made, there have been so many rumours popping up on the internet about the new sportscar that it was hard to distinguish fact from fiction. At last we have official word from Toyota Europe’s vice-president and product planning chief Karl Schlicht on what to expect from this joint venture.

In an interview with Autocar at the Geneva International Motor Show, Schlicht revealed some facts about the new Toyota/BMW sportscar without getting into too much detail. What he did reveal though is that the new car will be positioned above the Toyobaru FRS/BRZ/GT86 triplets. He was quoted as saying “ The intention with the new car is for it to sit above the GT86. It doesn’t replace the model; the GT86 goes on with its own mission”. This makes sense as this would allow Toyota to bring back the Supra moniker, which was dropped in 2002, as a halo car for the Toyota brand. By moving the car upmarket, it would also allow them to recover development money spent on what is probably an expensive venture.

Another interesting piece of information that Schlicht revealed was that the BMW and Toyota sportscars don’t have to necessarily enter in the same market space, unlike the FRS/BRZ/GT86 which all compete against each other. While the Toyota sportscar will most likely mimic the size of the FT-1 concept that they have been showcasing around, BMW will most likely have a smaller version to replace the aging Z4. When asked if the new joint platform was scalable enough to accommodate the two different wheelbases, Schlicht said “Gone are the days when one platform was one platform. Most of our platforms are scalable nowadays”. Schlicht also mentioned that they haven’t confirmed where they will be producing these cars, but that a single factory will most likely have the task of building both cars. BMW is said to be applying their knowledge of carbon fiber construction from their i3 and i8 cars to the new cars.

While the Toyota executive didn’t mention powertrain ideas, the internet rumourmill, including Autocar, has been saying the new cars will be powered by a hybrid system with a small displacement 4 cylinder BMW engine and electric motors. This would make sense as every automaker and their neighnours are moving towards hybrid technology to meet performance and fuel consumption demands. The car is set to debut sometime in 2017 and will “cost more than a Corvette”.

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