The recent agreement between BMW and Toyota to jointly develop a sports car could underpin the return of the Toyota Supra, a sports car model that the Japanese auto manufacturer abandoned in 2002. A BMW insider told Autoweek that the sports car joint development could provide the basis for the return of the Supra, possibly using the BMW 6-series architecture. The Supra is an iconic sports car that has appeared in numerous video games and movies, gaining a name for its superb performance. The collaboration may also bear fruit to a sports model for Toyota's Lexus brand. During the Detroit auto show in January, Lexus unveiled its LF-LC concept. If it gets a production version, it would have a price similar to a Porsche 911 Turbo, which has a tag of over $137,500. Toyota could employ BMW's expertise in suspension technology to give the concept a better driving feel and responsiveness.
According to Jim Hall, principal of 2953 Analytics Inc., Toyota could also employ the technology from BMW’s i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. If there is anything the Lexus needs and should get from the collaboration, the i8 technology should be it, Hall said, adding that the result would be an expensive car. BMW is expected to sell the i8 at around $125,000 when it rolls out the model in the first quarter of 2014.
BMW, meanwhile, stands to benefit from sharing the i8 technology with Toyota, helping the German carmaker spread the cost of the plug-in hybrid’s expensive components, according to Autonews. A senior BMW manager told Autoweek that the key factor of any resulting vehicle is that the products of both companies retain their own individual character, despite jointly developed technologies.
Toyota and BMW signed an agreement last week to jointly work on an "environmentally friendly" sports car, fuel-cell, electric vehicle components and lightweight materials. Toyota President Akio Toyoda said his company will benefit from BMW's strength in developing sports cars. A BMW spokeswoman said that the resulting sports cars will not be identical or share a common exterior design like the jointly developed Subaru BRZ, Toyota GT86 and Scion FR-S coupes.
The spokeswoman said that BMW's vehicle will be a sustainable sports car with environmentally friendly technology, adding that they are currently developing the architecture and components for the car.