The production version of the Toyota sports car, depicted above in an exclusive Autocar rendering, has been influenced by the exaggerated proportions of the earlier FT-1 concepts. It has a short front overhang and long, sweeping nose section, which houses a longitudinally mounted engine.
As expected, the detailing throughout the new car’s largely aluminium body has been toned down and refined compared with the FT-1, providing the production Supra with a crisper and smoother appearance.
The two-door layout and liftback-style tailgate of the FT-1 are retained. Inside, the new Supra (pictured on track below) provides accommodation for two in the front, with space in the rear taken up by a shallow parcel shelf and a boot similar in size to that of the current Porsche 718 Cayman.
The Supra is planned to be sold exclusively as a fixed-roof coupé, whereas the Z5 is set to take a roadster-only bodystyle and act as a replacement for the recently discontinued Z4. The move is intended to ensure that there will be little or no overlap of sales between the new Toyota and its BMW sibling.
The starting point for the new sports car pairing is a freshly developed platform engineered by BMW. It derives chassis components and engineering solutions from the current 3 Series and its various derivatives, including the rear axle and five-link rear suspension from the M3/M4.
As stipulated from the start of the project, the new platform has been engineered to support both rear-wheel drive and, crucially for plans to provide both variants with petrol-electric hybrid power, four-wheel drive.
Toyota and BMW have also developed a number of lightweight construction processes that will be used within the body structures of the Supra and Z5. Sources suggest the BMW roadster will weigh little more than 1400kg in turbocharged 2.0-litre fourcylinder entry-level guise.
For its part, Toyota has contributed extensive knowhow about hybrid drive systems to the project. Although details remain scarce a little more than 12 months from the planned unveiling of the first of the two sports cars, the Z5, sources insist that each car will feature its own uniquely tuned hybrid drivetrain, with electric boosting for added performance potential.
Despite what one official describes as work culture and language difficulties that are said to have prematurely stalled the joint venture during its infancy in 2013, both Toyota and BMW say their respective models are now progressing according to plan.
The BMW, which goes under the internal codename G29, will be pitched more directly than its predecessor at the Porsche 718 Boxster, according to insiders. To keep weight down, the folding hard-top of the Z4 has been replaced by a lighter and easier to accommodate fabric roof. It's similar in construction to that used by the 2 Series Convertible and supplied by German soft-top specialist Webasto-Edscha Cabrio.