Say, what’s going on with that BMW-Toyota joint sports car project that’s been in the works since 2012? It’s apparently chugging along as both companies figure out exactly what they want to get out of it. According to a new report, that could mean different sized sports cars for each brand.
We’ve known for some time that the project’s goal is to develop a new sports car for Toyota, possibly (hopefully) called the Supra, and for BMW, possibly a new Z4 or some other Z-model. Badge snobbery aside, how do you keep them from competing with one another?
Here’s what the UK’s Autocar reports of the new Supra:
A model of this size would also be significantly larger than the existing Z4, but Ian Robertson, BMW’s board member with responsibility for sales and marketing, has stated that the two manufacturers have come up with a proposal that can satisfy different areas of the sports car market.
“The one thing we’re clear on now is that a platform for both companies can work,” he said. “The cars in themselves don’t actually need to be positioned the same. The platform can spawn two positionings.
[...] When asked if the platform was scalable, to allow for the sort of difference in wheelbase that there could be between a Supra and a Z4, Robertson said: “Gone are the days when one platform was one platform. Most of our platforms are scalable these days.”
This makes a ton of sense. The Z4 has grown quite a bit since it was the Z3, but it’s still in theory a small two-seat roadster. The Supra was never a small sports car. Having the two vehicles be different sizes, with the new Supra being the larger one, seems like a good way to go.
Robertson added that a single factory would be used to build both cars, and there’s a good chance it will be in the U.S. or Europe instead of Japan. Beyond that, we still don’t know much about these cars, besides that the Toyota version could look like the popular FT-1 Concept, pictured above, and that it’s likely to be an all-wheel drive hybrid with liberal use of carbon fiber.
I have to wonder if that setup will be the standard one or an option, as it’s pretty complex for a small roadster like the Z4. Or maybe BMW’s car will be something other than a Z4. So many mysteries!
Hat tip to Gavin!