When Audi launched the R8 it helped pull the brand up to become just as powerful as the other two German luxury juggernauts. Mercedes has long used AMG for their sportier models, leaving BMW looking like it had a missing link at the top of the range. Well not anymore! Maybe.
According to a blabbermouth insider speaking to Car And Driver, BMW has stretched beyond its dealings with Toyota on a Z4 / Supra replacement, and is now working on a supercar with Lexus. From their report:
“BMW is getting trounced in the PR war of words in Germany, with Audi saying that BMW does not have a supercar whereas Audi does,” says a source close to Lexus. BMW wants to change that, with Toyota’s help.
Our source reveals that both companies have jointly built a prototype with a mid-engine layout and all-wheel drive. The design features a carbon-fiber tub married to an aluminum space frame, and the all-wheel-drive system is said to be not unlike that of the new Acura NSX, with electric motors driving the front wheels.
TROUNCED. Damn Lexus source, you don’t have to get so real with it.
But hey, if it takes Audi’s locker-shoving, line-up shaming PR antics to get a new supercar out of BMW - I say do whatever it’s worth it.
The BMW super car will allegedly have an all-new twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engine mated with a plug-in Toyota engineered hybrid powertrain, and Lexus will source power from its TS040 Le Mans 3.7 liter V8 engine, good for around 480 hp - not including the hybrid power. Apparently we can expect around 800 to 1,000 total hp out of these Japavarian twins. Sweet. More from C&D:
Our insider says, however, that “while 1000 horsepower is possible, fuel consumption, emissions concerns, and engine-tolerance figures will see a more realistic target figure of 800 horsepower.”
Lexus wants, no - needs this car to be priced less than their previous supercar attempt, the LF-A. They want to cut back from that car’s $375,000 sticker to a more reasonable $200,000 goal, which we can supposedly expect both models to be sold at “just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games .”
I had heard that BMW was possibly teaming up with McLaren, but that was shot down by the Germans - just today actually. Two rumors for one supercar makes it seem a little more likely.
Honestly, I am still skeptical. The only staples holding this Frankenstein supercar together for me is the known relationship with BMW and Toyota on the Z4 / Supra project, which isn’t even in development yet. I did report earlier that BMW was looking to expand that partnership, so perhaps this is what was meant by that.
Beyond that, we have Lexus, a company who still isn’t the player they want to be in the luxury world, and who lost a crap load of cash on their last supercar attempt, partnering with BMW, who is doing just fine without a range-topping supercar so far. They also are expanding their own hybrid technologies with the next-generation i8, as well as now having the unique ability to produce their own custom carbon fiber components.
Why would BMW turn to Toyota for a hybrid drive-train? It sounds to me like they could pump out a speculatively-named M9 / i9 model just fine on their own. Hell, a M-powered hybrid i-model could give the new BMW hybrid lineup the spotlight it needs to grow into a larger role in the company’s portfolio. It seems like Lexus would be the one benefiting the most from this deal, unless BMW had them eating the engineering and development costs to make up the difference.
Anywho, I’m excited at the prospect of a new BMW supercar, in whatever form we get it. The Lexus LF-A is also something special of a car, with everybody from Patrick George to Jeremy Clarkson loving every bit of it. It just needs to be better than the really really really good R8.
Japavarian twins, teaming up to kick Audi’s ass. (I’m trying really hard to make Japavarian a thing, let me know if it works.)