Here's what we know: Toyota and BMW are teaming up to make a new sports car. Here's what we don't know: literally everything else.
Nearly two years have passed since the announcement of Toyota and BMW's partnership for projects like fuel cell systems, powertrain electrification, lightweight materials, and most importantly to enthusiasts, a "future sports vehicle."
I certainly recognize that it takes time to put new platforms and technologies into place, but since the announcement of the collaboration, nothing has materialized except unfounded rumors. And like news of the next Mazda RX-7, new rumors crop up with alarming frequency and old ones mutate into fresh reports.
We've certainly been guilty of running with these rumors, as have most other news outlets. And while I'm not writing the BMW-Toyota partnership off entirely, I'm starting to inch it more and more toward the "vaporware" column, and you will too when you look at all the different rumors over the years, many of which I have helpfully rounded up here.
Without further ado, let's look at all the cars BMW and Toyota will
probably never make together:
A new plug-in hybrid Lexus LFA with BMW i8 technology: 4WheelsNews via Japan's Best Car
Still, today we found out a very interesting thing: BMW is also working with Lexus on the second-generation of the LFA supercar. According to Japan's Best Car magazine, the new Lexus LFA will arrive as a plug-in hybrid supercar and will borrow technology from the BMW i8. This means that the LFA will receive a powerful petrol engine but also an electric motor in order to take on its rivals such as the Honda NSX.
A hybrid all-wheel drive Z4 and the new Supra: Autocar
The new sports car will feature a front-engined layout. But unlike Toyota's FT-1 concept, it is likely to be four-wheel drive thanks to the use of a direct-injection petrol engine and electric motors. These power sources will form part of a high-tech supercapacitor-touting hybrid system that draws on technology and expertise gained from Toyota's Le Mans LMP1 sports car programme.
A hybrid Z5 and the new Supra: Jalopnik via Focus.de
German newspaper Focus.de, citing a report in Auto Bild that I am currently unable to find, says BMW and Toyota are working on a car that will be a successor to the slow-selling Z4 with somewhere between 211 and 367 horsepower and an optional hybrid engine.
A six-figure hybrid supercar: Motoring.au
Sorry folks, but it won't be anything like a souped-up Toyota 86. No siree. In all their wisdom, executives citing the high cost of developing a high-performance sports car with lightweight materials have opted for a $300,000-plus Lexus LFA-style package, but with a hybrid twist.
A four-cylinder sports car from the folks who brought you the Toyobaru: Motor Trend
We don't expect the BMW-Toyota sports car to use the 2.0-liter flat-four found in the GT86/FR-S (and their Subaru BRZ sibling). A BMW I-4 engine is more likely (though a Toyota-sourced I-4 is possible) and would necessitate significant modifications to the GT86/FR-S platform expected to underpin the car — a task that would fall to BMW. The platform would also likely have to be stretched to bring it into the midsize category. There's an outside chance a BMW platform is being used, but given Tada's extensive involvement in the project, it's a long shot.
An affordable FR sports car for the people to debut in 2017: Autoguide via Germany's Auto Zeitung
While few details on the project have been revealed so far, some info has surfaced that should be considered rumors for the time being. But according to an inside source with BMW speaking to German publication AutoZeitung, the project won't be a supercar, but rather "an innovative and emotional athlete for larger production." In other words, a sports car that will appeal to the masses rather than the select and prestigious few. It will be a lightweight model sporting plenty of aluminum and carbon fiber and will use a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout.
The next Z4, but not the Supra: Motoring.au
While many US-based publications are referring to this coupe as the next generation Supra, one source close to Toyota tells us that the FT-1 has nothing to do with the Toyota-BMW relationship. "BMW is not involved in the new Supra. I just wanted to make that clear," confirms our insider. "What I can say is that Toyota is involved in the development of the all-new BMW Z4."
A 400 horsepower hybrid on the Toyobaru platform: Motor Trend
The recently signed agreement between BMW and Toyota will form the backbone to the development of the Supra successor, a coupe that will be based on the Toyota GT86 platform. One insider informs that the BMW Z4 successor will use a revised version of this platform, as well. While the Supra successor will incorporate a reinforced version of the GT86's platform to cope with the extra horses, our source tells us that the body will be bigger than the GT86 and feature a design inspired by the FT-HS hybrid concept car that debuted at the 2007 Detroit auto show. A rendering of what a future Toyota Supra successor is shown above; the Toyota FT-HS concept hybrid is pictured at right and below.
To recap, the Toyota-BMW sports car will either be a Z4 and/or Supra replacement, or some kind of supercar, or it will be complete and total bullshit.