According to insiders BMW is planning on bringing a full-fledged super car to market with the help of Toyota. Long considered but never green-lit, BMW is looking at the super car to be the spiritual successor of the legendary BMW M1.
Previous proposals had never got past the business case phase due to the enormous development costs and the expected low volume of sales. But BMW only needed to look west at Inglostad and Audi to see how it was possible. Partnering with Lamborghini (itself owned by Audi), the R8 came to be quickly and cheaply by being co-developed alongside the Gallardo.
But who could be up to the task of co-developing a platform at the standards that BMW would require? Enter Toyota.
While BMW was pondering a future for the M1, Toyota was busy trying to come up with a plan for a LFA successor. After an initial agreement to jointly development hybrid systems and share diesel engines it didn’t take long for product planners to realize some key commonalities and needs the new corporate giants had. While Toyota had a home-run with the LFA critically, it was often looked at as an overpriced one-off. An orphan born from technology the was resurrected from a dead F1 program. If Toyota was focused on bringing a replacement to the market it had to be cheaper, faster and something that felt more inline with the current automotive environment. Which of course would mean ditching the sonorous V10 for some form of hybrid.
Because of this shared need of a platform and technology surrounding it, BMW and Toyota are co-developing a platform to underpin both an LFA and M1 successor. According to sources the platform will feature an extensive mix of carbon fiber, aluminum, magnesium and high-strength steel to bring weight down as low as possible. Using the i8 as a base-line, BMW is hoping to create a car that is just as aerodynamically pure with much greater performance and to not add more weight.
The BMW version will get a unique hybrid power plant but beyond that details are scarce. What we do know is that BMW wants true supercar performance and a new halo for the brand. While the i8 is quick and efficient, it isn’t in the league of even cars like the 911 Turbo let alone the McLaren 650PS. BMW wants this new supercar to be in that rarified air.
As you’d expect both will feature their own unique design, steering, engines and chassis set-ups. For instance where the Suburu BRZ and Scion FRS feel almost identical, these two supercars will feel worlds apart.
Given the cost savings of co-development and leveraging each others expertise in the field of hybrid technology and carbon fiber design the expectation is that both cars will come to market with hypercar performance at a dramatically lower price. Or put it another way, BMW’s M1 will slot well above the i8 in cost but be considered a value when looking at something like the Ferrari F12.
The idea of a joint architecture for the car is even more compelling when you consider that these two companies are two of the most engineering focused in the automotive world. The combined output could be incredible and produce what both could not do alone- a world-class super car.