Car News

New Toyota Supra, BMW Z4 to Share Chassis, Powertrains

Bit by bit, we're learning more about what fruit the sports-car partnership between BMW and Toyota will yield, including the latest tidbit suggesting a new Toyota Supra will share its chassis and powertrain with the successor to BMW's Z4 roadster.

The lastest news, according to UK mag AutoExpress, is Toyota has patented the Supra name in Europe and the USA, and BMW might call its next small roadster the Z5, though that's pure speculation at this point.

It seems likely that the Toyota version, at least, will be a hybrid, pairing electric motors juiced by a lithium ion battery at the front wheels with a gasoline engine driving the rears. AutoExpress thinks BMW will use the same powertrain, but we're not convinced the Bavarians are ready to go hardcore hybrid outside of its 'i' lineup of electrified vehicles.

If Toyota does go gas-electric, pairing something like a BMW turbocharged six-cylinder with its own hybrid components, it's easy to see the new Supra targeting the Acura NSX as a competitor: that car uses a twin-turbo V6 to spin the rear axle and electric motors up front, and we think it's absolutely possible to crank out something like 550 hp from the combo of a BMW turbo six and Toyota electric motors. For the record, the NSX's claimed combined power output is 573 hp.

Even if BMW does surprise us by making its roadster a hybrid, don't expect the two cars to look anything alike: these companies have both established strong identities through their vehicles' styling, and it's doubtful either would want to confuse that by incorporating design elements that point to the other manufacturer.