More than three years ago, BMW and Toyota joined forces to co-develop a new platform that will underpin a sports car which will be sold by both brands. BMW’s version is believed to be called “Z5” and serve as a replacement for the Z4 which has been around since 2009. As for the Toyota model, rumors say it could resurrect the iconic “Supra” moniker after the fourth generation was phased out back in 2002.

Now, Austrian local newspaper Kleine Zeitung is reporting production of both models is programmed to begin in 2018 at Magna Steyr’s factory in Graz, Austria where the plan is to make a total of 60,000 units annually. That’s the same facility where it is believed some of the next-gen BMW 5 Series production will take place from 2017.

Since production of the new Z5/Supra is pinned for 2018, that means an official reveal of the two models could occur in the second half of 2017. Spy photos of the so-called “Z5” have shown a fabric roof, but said a while ago that BMW also has plans to launch a coupe version.

Little else is known about the cars, although many say both will have BMW engines, except for a hybrid version that is expected to use a Toyota powertrain. The two cars will share the platform, but are going to feature differentiated designs both inside and out. BMW will apparently sell the Z5 with a standard rear-wheel-drive layout and an optional xDrive setup at an additional cost for select engines.

BMW’s CEO Harald Krueger said a while back that even though the roadster segment is not as big these days as it used to be, the company “has a long roadster tradition” and “will occupy the segment once more.” He went on to specify that launching a new roadster model will be “important for the strength of the brand.”

Source: via

Gallery: BMW Z5 spy photo

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