2014 BMW Z4Sales of salt are skyrocketing following the latest rumor of the planned joint-venture sports car from Toyota and BMW. The whisperings indicate that project will spawn both a replacement for the BMW Z4 and a long-awaited Toyota Supra successor based on the FT-1 Concept shown above. Word is that the new cars will feature front-engine, all-wheel-drive layouts with plug-in hybrid technology. This news would appear to run somewhat counter to earlier reports that BMW and Toyota are teaming for a six-figure hybrid supercar.

According to Autocar, the project will benefit from the experience Toyota gained with the TS030, its hybridized Le Mans prototype. The evidence for this is, of all things, a Toyota Yaris – in particular, the Yaris Hybrid R that was shown at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show last September. That car used a 300-horsepower, 1.6-liter gas engine, while a pair of 60-horsepower electric motors provided all-wheel-drive push (an additional motor also sent additional juice to the front axle). The 414-system-horsepower drivetrain used supercapacitors in place of the traditional lithium-ion batteries of traditional hybrids.

For the production sports cars, Autocar claims that the Yaris Hybrid R's setup will serve as the basis for the new powertrain, although it won't be a direct carryover. Instead, a 2.0-liter BMW engine will be paired with Toyota-designed, BMW-built motors.

While Toyota will be responsible for making the new car go, BMW will handle the car's structure and body. Carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, high-strength steel and aluminum will all play major roles in the construction, according to AC, with a low curb weight being a high priority.

This all sounds rather far-fetched to us, largely because of the existence of the BMW i8. That car already generates 362 system horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque from a plug-in drivetrain, and it also benefits from extensive use of CFRP and aluminum. Finally, the i8 retails for six figures. Building the Z4 replacement that Autocar describes and keeping it around the current car's price simply doesn't seem possible. Besides that, the idea of an all-wheel-drive Z4 kind of runs counter to what the Z4 is, an old-school, cab-backwards rear-drive roadster.

Then again, this crazy industry has surprised us before. What do you think? Does any of Autocar's theory on the BMW-Toyota partnership make sense to you? What sort of car do you expect from the two companies? What would you hope to see in a Z4 replacement? Have your say in Comments.


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  • 42 Comments
      Brian
      • 9 Months Ago
      "...the Yaris Hybrid R's setup will serve as the basis for the new powertrain, although it won't be a direct carryover. Instead, a 2.0-liter BMW engine will be paired with Toyota-designed, BMW-built motors." >>>The SOUL of the MKIV relied on: RWD, unmistakeable exterior design and an INLINE 6. I'm all for new electrical systems that would benefit the performance of the car but AWD and a 2.0 four cylinder would kill the legacy of the car and essentially the only thing that's carried over from the Mark IV is the name plate and perhaps its similar profile from the side. Just a side thought- perhaps I'm missing something but Akio's (CEO) goal was invoke soul into these sports cars. The LFA was a RWD car; they could've gone for grip with AWD (not saying AWD kills the soul but it takes a different know-how to go around a corner with RWD). If their goal was not to break records but create respectable lap times and keep the connection between car and driver, this AWD sounds like just a plain rumor. Also like pointed out in the article, the price of the Z4 with all that new technology sounds way too good to be true and far more of a difference than what is typically differentiated between each new generation of cars. I want to know where Autocar got it's rumors from.
      Matt
      • 9 Months Ago
      "Toyota designed, BMW built"...I would much rather see "BMW designed, Toyota built".
        CoolWaters
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Matt
        Toyota knows hybrids and super capacitors BMW knows handling. I sure BMW has input to the design, if they are building the body.
          free_spirit
          • 9 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          Toyota can make a million time better handling than any manufacture in the globe i mean LFA
      bubba_roe
      • 9 Months Ago
      Can we stop calling this a successor to the Supra. It really has nothing to do with the Supra.
        bubba_roe
        • 9 Months Ago
        @bubba_roe
        Lets see... Supra had a manual transmission, this doesnt. Supra had inline turbo 6, this doesnt. Supra used a combustion engine only, this doesnt. Supra used RWD, this doesnt. Supra was designed and built by Toyota, this isnt.
      Scooter
      • 9 Months Ago
      Interesting I suppose. Although I grow weary of "premium" sport cars. Seems the days of affordable sporty coup├ęs and small sport oriented cars may be dead. Instead replaced by the never ending buffet of premium price tag sport cars. Its all very fun but I only wish the middle class received more alternatives to compacts and family sedans.
        stonehunte
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Scooter
        Amen brother, it seems like eventually there will be no affordable sports cars left and it will be luxury left for those with big bank accounts. Not everybody needs carbon ceramic brakes, complex hybrid systems, DCTs, AWD, and super car tires. Just make a car that has decent handling, great acceleration, and a lot of fun driver involvement.
          paulwesterberg
          • 9 Months Ago
          @stonehunte
          The new vettes start at 53k, cheaper than this Porsche for sure, but still way out of reach for the common man.
          stonehunte
          • 9 Months Ago
          @stonehunte
          So basically gutless sports cars are available? If you want good acceleration, its corvette, 370Z, pony car, or a sedan. Really only two sports cars on that list.
      carguy1701
      • 9 Months Ago
      Please no.
      carguy1701
      • 9 Months Ago
      For love of god, please no.
      Teleny411
      • 9 Months Ago
      Whats going on with BMW? There cars are just getting goofier, heavier & laden with crap. Replace the Z4 with a Z3! 2600lbs i6. MT. They sold a ton of Z3s so they then make a heavy, bloated expensive pig of a Z4. Nobody buys them. Now this garbage.
      flammablewater
      • 9 Months Ago
      So because it's Toyota, we will now see another concept that looks nothing like this one in a year, then an unrelated concept 6 months later, and maybe a production version a year after that, and you'll be able to buy it another 6 months later.
        Bernard
        • 9 Months Ago
        @flammablewater
        Whoa, you're product release cycle is way to aggressive there buddy. How about slowing things down a bit and adding a few more padding years for a more serene rate of progress?
      owen brown
      • 9 Months Ago
      I just got a chubby thinking about this .
      amge5.5
      • 9 Months Ago
      IDIOTS!!!!! You had one job Toyota, don't screw up the next Supra!!! The formula is there!! TTI6 from BMW with a 6-speed manual in the gorgeous FT-1 body with a MSRP of $60,000! That's it! Game over! I would be putting a deposit down today. If it comes out with awd and hybrid tech I will not even look at it to replace my AMG.
        CoolWaters
        • 9 Months Ago
        @amge5.5
        This isn't 1950.
          amge5.5
          • 9 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          No, its 2014 where we get great cars like the C7, Cayman GTS, M235i, ect...and the FT-1 could be added to that list if Toyota does not blow it by adding hybrid tech, a 4 cylinder, and AWD.
          mookieblaylock
          • 9 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          kind of agree but hybrids are heavy so this thing will be more an old fat man tourer unless they use super expensive light weight material, i would actually be more into the yaris rally car kind of thing and make the supra a light weight conventional
      brotherkenny4
      • 9 Months Ago
      If your thingy isn't working go see a doctor, it's far less expensive.
      mookieblaylock
      • 9 Months Ago
      i like the idea-hybrid,awd but the concept is silly looking. Good luck finding a market for this in the 50K plus range, people dont buy japanese sports cars at that level and above. Original supra was nice looking, this thing looks childish
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