There’s currently two cars that have materialised along the horizon line that tickle the everyman sports coupe/roadster fantasy: the next Toyota Supra and BMW Z4. Both cars are being co-developed in unison, with the Japanese and German automakers swapping know-how and engineering muscle.
While we have a clear enough indication of how both these cars will operate, the finer points remain mysterious. Where an all-new Z4’s landing point can be extrapolated from the previous E89 Z4, the last Supra ceased production in 2002 at the scene of a very different automotive landscape. What is fairly certain at this point, however, is that they will share some form of hybrid drive system of Toyota origin.
Most recently, as reported by Autocar, a peek into the interior of the Supra development car while it was undergoing testing at the Nurburgring revealed that it used BMW-sourced running gear (including automatic gear lever and iDrive screen and control knob), suggesting a production version sporting electronics sourced from Munich. Most curious.
The appearance of the gear lever in particular is telling as it may portend an automatic-only sports coupe, using the same 8-speed ZF 8HP torque converter transmission used in nearly all BMWs today, albeit with different ratios.
These findings seem to be in full support of the theory that the Supra (and the Z4) will use a turbocharged BMW straight-six petrol engine up front that sends power to the rear wheels, while a pair of electric motors provide drive to the front wheels and possibly some assist to the rears as well, using energy stored in supercapacitors, the report continues.
Due to make they respective debuts in 2018, possibly with both or either showing up at the Geneva Motor Show, there’s a strong likelihood that the wait won’t be all that protracted between that point and its rollout to showrooms around the world. The Z4, of course, will sit in its familiar spot within the BMW portfolio whereas the Supra will positioned as Toyota’s premiere sports offering, well above the Subaru co-developed 86.