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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Toyota Supra, BMW Z4 sports cars to share platform

Toyota Motor and BMW will develop a common platform for two sports car models that will become the first products to come out of a comprehensive tie-up the two inked in January 2013.

The automakers will use the same platform as early as 2017 for the BMW Z4 and a planned revival of the Toyota Supra, a model popular in the 1980s and 1990s. The vehicles will have different body designs and be sold under their respective brands.

The car will have a front-engined direct-injection four cylinder turbo and electric motors driving all four wheels. The supercapacitor system will be derived from technology first seen in Toyota's Hybrid Supra HV-R in 2007 when it won the Tokachi 24 hour race and more recenly Toyota's Le Mans LMP1 race cars.

BMW will supply the 2.0 liter turbocharged engine combined with electric motors produced by BMW at its engine plant in Munich while a Toyota-developed electronics system is expected to provide torque-vectoring capability.

The partners also plan to discuss joint manufacturing and parts procurement. BMW is a leader in building cars with lightweight carbon fiber bodies, but the technology is expensive, leading many to focus on whether Toyota will adopt it.

Toyota's tie-up with BMW is aimed at making use of the German carmaker's luxury-vehicle expertise while lowering costs. Toyota and BMW also jointly work on research for lithium-air battery expected to be more powerful than the lithium-ion batteries used in many hybrid and electric vehicles,

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