Through the grapevine was abuzz with the news of the new sports car being developed jointly between BMW and Toyota, there was no photographic proof of this – but not anymore. The people at AutoEvolution have caught some excellent scoop pics of the next Sports car from BMW stable – tentatively christened as the Z5.
The Z5 will be the successor of Z4, but will be shedding the metal roof for a soft top (as the picture indicates), and will be almost similar to the Z4, proportions wise. With the association between BMW and Toyota, BMW is aiming to let go of the written rules and is trying to forge its own rules. This is to be kept in mind that the target group is not the SUPERCAR and HYPERCAR crowd but those who will be more affected by the change in global economics and equations.
So, while there are few traditional sports cars, which are tapping the market well, most of the players are still trying to do permutations and combinations to come up with the right formula or power and practicality. And it is no wonder that BMW and Toyota are pooling their synergies and trying to reinvent the middle weight sports car class – especially since the last stint of Toyota with Subaru ended up in a brilliant driving machine – the Toyota GT 86 – which sadly didn't make much sense commercially.
We can be sure of the fact that Toyota and BMW have learned from the previous episodes and given the secrecy about the project, we are not yet fully sure what to expect – other than the fact that, whatever may be the equation, it will not fail to thrill us once we are behind the wheels.
Under the Hood
While we are not expecting a V8 engine, a V6 is still a possibility and a 4-cylinder 2.0L turbo, more than probable. There will be plug-in hybrids too in the lineup. The auto transmission is given but we are hoping that for the sake of purists, BMW will equip one or two models with one of its delectable manual gearboxes too.
While the car will be equipped with rear wheel drive as standard, there is a possibility of BMW offering optional 4-wheel drive system. There is also a chance of BMW giving the M treatment to the top-of-the-line model, which will see a power output of more than 500 horses.
We do not expect any part sharing between the models, and the car will be an out and out BMW, though it is being developed as a joint venture. The designs will be totally independent of each other and though the car spotted was heavily camouflaged, we expect the design to have classic sports car cues – long bonnet and short rear overhang, coupled with a low driving position.
There are rumors that the car will be offered both as a SPORTSTER MODEL with a soft top, and as a COUPE. The Sportster will make the entrance first, and will be followed by the coupe, later in the same year. The car will make use of BMW's lightweight CLAR architecture, and will make sure of carbon fiber, aluminum, magnesium, ultra-high strength steel, etc. to reduce the weight of the car.
The makers are tight lipped about the project and the expected timelines, but we expect the car will make the debut by late 2017 or early 2018.