The next Toyota Supra and BMW Z4 could use the same hybrid drivetrain in the Yaris Hybrid-R, paired with supercapacitors and all-wheel drive. But whether it will be a six-figure supercar or something a little more attainable hasn’t been settled just yet.
Rumors have been circulating for years that Toyota and BMW are teaming up on a hybrid sports car, and with the reveal of the Toyota FT-1 Concept, the return of the Supra as a performance hybrid seems all but certain. The blurry details are starting to come into focus, and the picture they paint a very different vehicle from the classic Supra or Z4.
The new car will utilize an all-wheel drive system paired with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain similar to the one the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept, but with one key difference. Instead of a 1.6 liter Toyota gas engine, a BMW motor no bigger than 2.0 liters will be used alongside a pair of electric motors. Engineers are drawing from knowledge gained from the Toyota TS030, the hybrid Le Mans endurance racer that has been nipping at Audi’s heels for the past couple of years.
This is where the supercapacitors come in. Unlike lihtium-ion batteries, which more energy but also a lot longer longer to recharge and discharge, supercapacitors store a little bit of kinetic energy for a big (but brief) boost in power. They recharge with kinetic energy (mostly from braking) just as quickly as they discharge, making supercapacitors a better option than standard lithium-ion batteries. High-strength steel and aluminum will be used to keep weight down, further improving performance. With no hard numbers to pin down right now though, it’s hard to tell where in the supercar hierarchy the next Supra/Z4 will fall.
So where does this leave the in-demand BMW i8? Hard to say; the current BMW Z4 and BMW i8 are distinctly different vehicles, and the ‘i’ brand is being touted as somewhat separate (but not TOO separate) from the regular BMW lineup. While Toyota’s lineup is noticeably devoid of any high-end performance cars, is there room in the BMW lineup for another hybrid supercar?
I don’t see why not.