By on July 11, 2014

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Much like the long-rumored Alfa Romeo Spider/Mazda MX-5 tie-up, Toyota will be entering into a similar arrangement with BMW for their next Z4, and the return of the Toyota Supra.

The Nikkei reports that this will be the first tangible result of BMW and Toyota’s collaboration. The vehicles are expected to debut in 2017, and be sold as distinct products under their own brands. The idea of a Supra and a Z4 sharing a common link may be unfathomable to loyalists of both brands, but in the current economic climate, the need for scale trumps all other concerns.

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53 Comments on “BMW Z4, Toyota Supra To Become Blood Brothers...”


  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Hopefully they give this one a Twin-Turbo V8 and not create another underpowered FR-S/BRZ.

    • 0 avatar
      vtnoah

      I’d be more than happy with a turbo inline 6 as both companies have a solid history of producing that type of engine. TT V8 on the other hand wouldn’t be anything to scoff at either.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        The inline six is such a nice engine, I hate to see it disappearing from automobiles.

        • 0 avatar
          3Deuce27

          Fuel injection and electronic ignition made the modern OHV Six. OHC’s just added frosting to the newly baked I6.

          My first Six equipped with FI and EI was the 87′ Ford, not the best example, but a big improvement for the venerable old 300″ Six.

          BMW cooked the concept to near perfection. Such a sweet engine in all iterations, but then that is BMW’s way with all of their engines and the Nipponese engines play in the same field of sophistication.

      • 0 avatar
        rpol35

        As long as that I-6 is turbocharged.

        I had a ’90 Supra with the non-turbocharged I-6; it was smooth and had long legs but was frustratingly slow in acceleration. I was amazed at the number of pedestrian entry-level boxes that could smoke it hard coming off of a light or even trying to accelerate into interstate traffic.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          If it’s going to be a proper sports car, it needs a proper V8.

          A twin-turbo I6 could be the base engine.

          • 0 avatar
            Zykotec

            I sure love V8’s, but the list of ‘proper sports cars’ that had V8 engines is incredibly short. More than a quarter mile shorter than the list of sports cars with Inline sixes.
            Edit: Silly me just forgot a bunch of screaming little italian v8’s…

          • 0 avatar
            dartman

            I disagree. BMW has returned to using a Turbo inline 6 in the new M3. Outperforms the old V8 in every way. I’m not anti V8 but nothing IMO is sweeter than a properly built I6–gas or diesel.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            So Toyota gets DI, turbo charger, and a sports car? It ‘ll probably end up with a battery just like Honda NIX. A real sports car? Do they still make them like that from Japan?

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          The Mark III Supra was pretty heavy for 3 liters and 200 hp. The n/a engines were really for leisurely road touring.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        I know. I’m a BMW loyalist and I don’t find it unfathomable at all. As long as the car makes good power, is reasonably light, and fun to drive who cares?

  • avatar
    cartunez

    Modern twin turbo v6 would be enough for me. I loved the body style of the last Supra.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    So can we expect an over-priced Supra or a higher margin Z4?

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Yes.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Maybe Toyota will learn something from BMW about suspension tuning and BMW will learn something from Toyota about building reliable automobiles.

    • 0 avatar
      Dawnrazor

      I’ve long fantasized and wished for the emergence of a “supreme” automaker who combines the reliability of the best of the Japanese with the handling/feel/styling of the best of the Euros with no compromises in either domain.

      A marriage of the virtues Toyota and BMW (potentially) bring to the table could be very interesting indeed; a Toyota with BMW performance (or a BMW with Toyota reliability) would be a dream come true for some of us.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        I read something like this once:

        Heaven would be a car with the styling done by Italy, the suspension built in Germany, the interior a collaboration between the Brits and the Swedes, Electronics by the Japanese, and an engine from the US, all QAed and overseen by the Japanese.

        Hell would be harder to nail down, especially considering the overall state of auto quality, but given historical stereotypes here would be my take: Engine by the French, British electronics, styling by the Swedes, interior by the Koreans, and suspension by the US, QAed and overseen by the Italians.

        All that aside, if what we have to have to continue to get fun sports cars is this kind of collaboration, I’m all for it.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Instead new German cars have all the handling finesse of Japanese cars of the ’70s while retaining their potential for French dependability.

      • 0 avatar
        ...m...

        …lotus have been doing it for a decade with toyota drivetrains; albeit in more spartan form than modern consumers have come to expect…

      • 0 avatar
        Grahambo

        That day has already come in the form of the 3rd generation Lexus IS 350 F Sport. It’s remarkable to me that this is not a bigger topic of discussion in the automotive world. The 3.5 V6 is certainly not as powerful as the 335i (although I think it’s fair to say it will be more reliable long-term) and the exterior design is certainly polarizing, but the suspension/chassis/steering — the overall feel — handily outclasses the new 3. It’s not even close. The 335 only even stays in the game in the comparison tests against the Lexus (and, for that matter, the ATS) due to its more powerful engine and larger size/better practicality (and perhaps lingering bias). This is ironic given that, until the E90 335i brought world-beating power to the non-M 3 series, BMWs dominated comparison tests despite being smaller and slower than the competition precisely because of their harmonious chassis balance/suspension, steering, etc (and, of course, the sweet NA inline 6).

      • 0 avatar
        akatsuki

        You mean Mazda?

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      Not if the less than Toyota reliability BRZ is an example. The quality of the Toybaru was worse than the reliability of either Toyota or Subaru.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    I’m encouraged by these mfr partnerships to keep niche cars from disappearing from the marketplace. I just hope that these partnerships actually bear fruit that’s a little sweeter than the FR-S/BRZ.

  • avatar
    mcs

    They’ll probably use an updated version of the BMW CFRP technology, so it’ll be super light. I’m guessing that it will get an updated version of the i8 drive-train or the B48 4 cyl. 231 hp in a 2,000 lb car should be plenty of power.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr. K

      This.

    • 0 avatar

      mcs: In a perfect world, yes. I would bet money it will weigh over 2,800 lbs, likely over 3,000. The last Supra and Z4 were both over 3,200 at their lightest. BMW’s are heavy cars. The last Supra didn’t have to meet modern crash standards. I am skeptical of the new Miata coming in under 2,300 lbs, and lightness is Mazda’s stated mission. I hope I am wrong in both cases though!

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        Well, a big part of that was the Supra wasn’t a sports car, it was more of a GT car or Japanese muscle car with a killer engine.

        The 2JZ wasn’t an especially light motor either, with an iron block and all the associated twin turbo plumbing. The engine alone is 594lbs without it, compared to a similarly powered LS1 that weighs 430lbs. add on all the turbo crap and you’re looking at somewhere in the 650-700lb range for the powerplant.

        • 0 avatar
          3Deuce27

          True Sports cars don’t have a back seat in any form. If there is a token back seat(s), it is a GT or a sporty 2-dr saloon. Few actual sports cars are offered in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @Suto I based my guess on the weight of the i3 EV. It’s weight is 2634 lbs. If they can build a 2634 lb 4 seater EV in their first attempt at the CFRP technology, they should be able to build a near 2000 lb ICE powered CFRP 2 seat roadster – especially since they’ll have the i3 and i8 experience under their belt. Maybe an expanded use of carbon – especially if they decide to build a CSL version.

        I also believe the CFRP technology is what Toyota is after, so I think the cars are likely to use it and more extensively than the i3 & i8. If they go with the i8 drivetrain, my guess is that it would be close to, but less than the i8s 3285 lbs.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    In the United States it will be sold as a Scion SA-Z4xi2 and will be priced above the equivalent Z4 with a Coleman cooler interior.

    Hopefully, if Toyota learned anything, we won’t have to endure three years of the Messiah is coming, no, honest, we really mean it this time.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      This. Pure awesomeness!

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Let me add to that:

      Toyota will advertise the Scion SA-Z4xi2 as the next generation 2000GT, the latest Supra, and if it has a turbo they’ll go Audi and show rally scenes of the Celica.

      And then the car that we get will be entirely nothing like the old cars advertised, for better or worse.

      I too don’t want to have years of people screaming “Finally, a RWD that returns to the routes of what sports cars are about! Now we just need shooting break, sedan, and convertible variants!”.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Best case we get a long lived and reliable Z4 and a agile road feel Supra. Worst case is the opposite. Likely outcome: Something unaffordable, gas/electric, with too many compromises instead of best choices.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I’ve been driving around in an N54-powered Z3 for 10 years. It is truly a sweet engine. AFAIC, if they can keep the weight of the car under 3000 lbs. and perhaps add DI (but no turbo) to the 3-liter six, they would have something.

    I’m afraid, however, that the increasing popularity of torque converter automatics will generate a need for an engine with a fat torque curve, like the current BMW turbo 4 and 6. Engines with relatively high rpm peak torque are fun to drive with a manual, but seem slow with a torque converter automatic.

    And the other question is: what insane (and unusble) levels of performance will they feel compelled to deliver, in order to justify an insane price?

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I guess everyones wet dream right now is a Z4 style coupe, with Supra power and reliability, my worst fear would be a Supra style coupe, with BMW reliability…

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Yes, the roads and driveways are littered with broken BMW’s…. I wished! I could make more bucks fixing and flipping them and get what I want a lot cheaper.

      I have owned two long term BMW’s(I6 E36/E39). Solid drive trains, with only a few issues with window switches and mirror controls. The rest were consumables. The original clutch in my E36 was still going strong when I pulled the engine at just over 200,000.

      My most recent and used BMW’s(318/325_e30’s) have the complete service/repair records showing a similar record of no major repairs.

      I think most of the complaints about BMW’s are by people who bought them used with deferred service, and then they added to the situation. They most likely didn’t have the necessary funds to adequately care for the cars and it would have been the same situation for any make car they bought.

      A lot of people buy more car then they can afford, especially used buyers and those put into a new BMW through creative financing. Once the warranty expires, it is down hill on timely maintenance.

      A friend of mine has been buying 3-4 year old(50-60,000 miles) BMW’s for the past 25 years and puts about 50-60,000 plus miles on them in a year and trades for a newer one at about 180,000 or so miles. He has had next to no trouble with those cars, and nothing major.

      But believe what you need to believe to support your world view.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        I know people who fix and flip them for serious cash, but you could be correct about the abuse part. A lot of the people who buy BMW’s just aren’t prepared for the responsbility and upkeep that comes with a car that is fun to drive. And a lot of the old ones have seen abuse that most Japanese cars will never see. If you are careful and service them correctly the mechanical bits can go on for a long time without blowing up, but most people I know who have older/used BMW’s enjoy working on them. BMW’s will never be Hondas or Toyotas though (lucky for those who like the handling and interiors, which I kinda do, I’m just not willing to sacrifice practicality , reliability, and the extra money on top of that, yet.)
        PS. I’ve said it before a number of times, but if you’re expecting a 3-4 year old car to have issues,(or you’re impressed when it doesn’t) you don’t understand what reliability really is…

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          >I’ve said it before a number of times, but if you’re expecting a 3-4 year old car to have issues,(or you’re impressed when it doesn’t) you don’t understand what reliability really is…

          Agreed, this is the real kicker. Most cars should barely see any maintenance beyond fluid changes and consumable replacements shy of about 80-100k. Even major maintenance like timing belts and valve adjustments is predictable so you can plan for it.

          Now, straight up failures of arts are unacceptable, but that is more often due to owner abuse or misuse than anything else. Sure there are outliers like early 2000s FWD minivan transmissions and small electrics in some of the German cars, but for the most part barely anything built in the last 15 years will leave you stranded or have a large expense that you don’t see coming.

          I look at my S2000 and it has a fairly simple schedule: 5k=oil, 15k= rear diff fluid, 30k=tranny fluid, 100k=plugs and valve adjustment, 120k=coolant. Wear items like brakes and tires as necessary; I’ll probably do the suspension at 120-130k as well (bushings and CR shocks/springs). Easy enough to plan for and nothing save for the eventual clutch job is too expensive.

          Most modern cars have a maintenance requirements similar to the S2k, and with lots of hydraulic or vacuum powered systems going electric there is even less to maintain than before. Germans might use some fancier one-off fluids that cost more, but overall costs shouldn’t be more than 150-200% of your run-of-the-mill vehicle, and be considered a cost of entry.

  • avatar
    James2

    Forget the Supra/Z6 (?).

    The one-percent demands –I say, demands!– that Lexus build a LFA Mk.2 (albeit one that doesn’t look like a glorified Supra) and BMW (finally) a M1 Mk.2.

    Do it along the lines of the Porsche 918 –a twin-turbo I6 coupled to hybrid power– which would nicely blend in with the philosophies both car companies are already following.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      >> and BMW (finally) a M1 Mk.2.

      The M1 took 5.5 seconds 0 to 60. BMW claims the i8 will accelerate 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds, Road and Track got it to 60 in 3.8 seconds. It’s not perfect with steering that’s a bit light and maybe some braking issues. But, I think it is the successor to the M1. Then again, a version with a bit more power wouldn’t be bad I suppose.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Ok show of hands:

    Who’s going to actually buy this thing if it comes out as a Scion?

  • avatar
    cartunez

    I would love to have the body design of the Porsche 928S4 with Japanese reliability.

  • avatar

    This will certainly end well. An entry-level model with the soon-to-be famous BMW 3-cylinder engine, I’d expect.

  • avatar
    bd2

    So – thus far, Toyota outsourcing development to Subaru, BMW and Mazda.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    So half want an inline 6, half want a V8.

    We need compromise – inline 7

    … Or I could just be realistic… Inline 8!

  • avatar
    sofast1

    Oh Boy! Another great car that I won’t be able to afford! Yay!

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I’m looking forward to this. I really hope it gets the turbo straight six.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    So does that mean the BMW version will turn into a MINI?

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