Posts Tagged ‘ft-1’

Toyota & BMW to Partner on Two-Seat Hybrid Sports Car

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Toyota FT-1 Concept

All the way back at the end of 2011, Toyota and BMW announced a partnership that would help both brands further their fuel-cell, hybrid and lightweight technologies. Then, in 2012 the agreement was elaborated to include a new joint venture sports car. Finally, near the end of 2013 the two brands hinted that the venture would eventually yield a Z4 replacement for BMW and a Supra successor for Toyota.

Now, we’d originally expected to see the fruit of that agreement at the 2014 Detroit Motor Show, but Toyota gave us the FT-1 Concept instead. However, we now know that the FT-1 Concept may have struck closer to the Toyota-BMW agreement than we’d first thought… This is because AutoCar has just confirmed that the FT-1 bears striking similarities to the car the two brands eventually intend to produce.

First, though, let’s go back and look at which aspects of the future twin cars each brand intends to handle. Toyota plans to use their experience with the LMP1 sports car and the TS030 Le Mans prototype to develop a plug-in hybrid powertrain. BMW will reportedly be responsible for designing the chassis and body, and actually manufacturing the mechanics Toyota develops (engine, electric motors, etc.).

2014 BMW Z4

As you continue reading, though, do keep in mind that these are all still rumors at this point. Nonetheless, here’s everything else we know about the potential Z4/Supra successor:

Most of what we know revolves around the powertrain, since over the past six months Toyota has showcased some incredible new technologies in that department. Most notably, the new BMW-Toyota supercar is rumored to feature a front-engine, all-wheel drive configuration with a high-power hybrid system. In fact, it appears the car will feature technology very similar to what we saw in the Toyota Yaris Hybrid R last year in Frankfurt – a high-output, low-displacement direct-injection engine (the Yaris Hybrid R had 300hp with 1.6L) paired with three electric motors and supercapacitors instead of the typical lith-ion batteries.

In addition to the engine and motor configuration, the car is expected to utilize a sequential manual gearbox instead of a CVT, and lightweight technology as seen in BMW’s i3 and i8 sports cars. It will also use some of Toyota’s carbon fiber manufacturing technology that they perfected through the Lexus LFA supercar to simultaneously lighten and stiffen the car. Finally, driving mechanics will be perfected through Toyota’s torque vectoring control units.

Even though both hybrid supercars will feature the same underpinnings, it’s expected that Toyota and BMW will differentiate the specific exterior design. Personally, we hope that Toyota sticks pretty close to the FT-1 Concept, as that car looked spectacular.

Obviously, there’s a lot that we still don’t know about the potential BMW-Toyota supercar. We don’t know how much it will cost (although rumors put it in the six-figure range), what the exact powertrain numbers will be, or anything about its green technology. And we certainly don’t know when or where the car will make its debut. Having said that, we hope to get more concrete answers – if not a full preview – by the end of 2014.

Toyota FT-1 Concept Reportedly Confirmed as Next Toyota Supra

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Toyota FT-1 Concept

The Toyota FT-1 Concept was one of the few cars that we didn’t get a chance to discuss during this year’s Detroit Auto Show. That’s not because it wasn’t a great concept, but because Toyota, along with every other automaker, made sure we had quite a bit to discuss (such as the TRD Pro Series) and we simply didn’t get around to it.

With this latest piece of news, we’ve been given an opportunity to go back and look at the breathtaking sports car concept.

What news is that?

The title says it all – Toyota has reportedly confirmed that the FT-1 Concept will eventually make it to production as the resurrected Toyota Supra.

We’ve talked a bit about the Supra before, but just to remind you, it was a beloved RWD sports car from Toyota’s early years, specifically the 80s and 90s. Towards the end of the 90s it began being banned out of various markets for its failure to adhere to the then-new emissions regulations. Now, almost 20 years later, Toyota is ready to bring its most-loved sports car back from the grave.

News of the Supra’s return is actually just a small sampling of what Toyota’s planning in the years ahead. A recent interview between Karl Schlicht, executive VP of Toyota Europe, and AutoExpress let us know to “expect more risky designs and emotional surprises like the FT-1 Concept.” Toyota is on a mission to transform its brand image from that of bland and reliable to that of the best and the boldest.

Schlicht went on to credit Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s current CEO, with the Japanese automaker’s new direction. “Toyota has really changed under Akio Toyoda – he really doesn’t care about selling more cars than anyone else, in fact he’s paranoid about growing too quickly,” Schlicht said. “He’s told everyone in the company not to chase the number one spot, but to do things right, make the best cars and the money will come.”

Of course, this strategy is probably a lot safer when you already are the number one spot, but we appreciate the sentiment nonetheless. And, we’re certainly not going to object to more cars like the Toyota FT-1 Concept, which can apparently trace its roots all the way back to the Lexus LFA – an uber-expensive, limited production supercar that nobody in Toyota besides Akio Toyoda himself wanted to make.

Schlicht elaborates: “The LFA was the hardest project to push through, but he [Toyoda] did it anyway. He wanted to liberate the minds of his engineers. In a way the FT-1 is the next stage in that, a more accessible version of the LFA.” In fact, he even went so far as to claim that the GT-86 and the upcoming Lexus RC-F wouldn’t be possible without the innovation spurned from the LFA’s development.

To digress just a little bit, we still don’t know very much about the reportedly upcoming Toyota Supra. However, we know that the Toyota FT-1 Concept was designed by the companies CALTY studio, so we expect the Supra will be just as stunning as the FT-1, if not more so. Furthermore, we know that the concept featured a powertrain capable of 485hp, so if and when the Supra comes to be, it’ll certainly pack a punch.

Unfortunately, we have no official idea when we will see the Toyota Supra production model, or even if there’s to be another concept between now and then. However, AutoGuide indicated that the new Supra would likely come sometime in 2015 as a 2016MY. It’s a bit of a wait, we know, but if there’s any car worth the wait it’s the new Toyota Supra.