It was precisely on June 29, 2012 when BMW and Toyota officially announced plans to collaborate on a sports car program, among other tie-ups including the joint development of a fuel cell system, powertrain electrification, and R&D work on lightweight technologies.
Engineers from both automakers got together and worked closely for about two years on the sports car – and that was it. Speaking with CNET, Toyota Supra’s chief engineer, Masayuki Kai, made a rather surprising disclosure by saying the last time his team chatted with BMW was way back in 2014:
“We agreed on the packaging, like where is the hip-point of the driver, what's the wheelbase, the width, where's the fuel tank, where's the A-pillar, this was around the middle of 2014... After that we completely separated our team. After that, no communication with each other.”
Let’s keep in mind that BMW did say back in October 2017 that the Z4 would be “absolutely unique” compared to the Supra, not just in terms of design, but also as far as handling and how the car feels.
The differences between the two cars are so big that Kai can’t even say for sure how many parts are shared between the Z4 and Supra, even though the platform is the same. The highly anticipated return of Toyota’s coupe will use a BMW-sourced engine and also a gearbox from Bavaria, but rest assured both have been tweaked to “get the feel exactly how Toyota wants it.”
After teaming up with Subaru for the 86 / BRZ twins and with BMW for the Supra / Z4 duo, Toyota is open to the idea of a new alliance that would bring back the MR2 or Celica. The crown jewel of the company’s sports car range will be a hypercar based on the GR Super Sport concept with nearly 1,000 of hybrid horses.