Toyota and BMW's collaboration will extend into a new range of mid-engined sports cars to challenge the benchmark Porsche 911, CAR can reveal.
Developed under the codename Silk Road 2, the proposed BMW Z7 and Lexus ZC/ZR are cutting-edge sports cars which will cost around €90,000, or £73,000. Slap bang in Porsche Carrera territory, then.
Project Silk Road 2: Toyota and BMW's new sports car twins to rival the 911
Don't confuse this with the first BMW-Toyota sports car project already confirmed by Munich. The German-Japanese alliance is co-developing a pair of front-engined BMW Z4/Toyota GT86 replacements, due around 2017.
SR2 denotes a second, much more grown-up kind of sports car. Although the programme is still in its infancy, CAR understands the sports cars are already under development and will break with tradition in more ways than one.
Read on for our full scoop for what insiders refer to as the new Supra and BMW's 911.
What we know about SR2: the Toyota/BMW sports cars
This will be the first mid-engined mainstream two-seater for both brands - as well as the first plug-in hybrid sports car with a six-cylinder engine.
According to an insider, it was BMW who pushed for this car ever since it was clear that the proposed 630bhp carbonfibre M8 would be grounded to keep the road clear for the politically more correct i8.
A 3.0-litre twin-turbo six
Due to see the light in late 2018 or early 2019, SR2 will be developed in Munich for both brands. And providing the firepower are two different calibrations of what is essentially the same twin-turbo in-line 3.0-litre straight six.
Originally intended to revive the Toyota Supra nameplate, the lightweight newcomer is now widely referred to as the Lexus LFA's little brother, aka ZC/ZR. Not to be confused with MG's tarted-up Rover 25 hot hatch...
A quick look at the spec sheet will banish any such Longbridge associations: common components are believed to include a twin-turbo engine, a super-swift seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission, a supplementary 150bhp e-motor, performance batteries packaged between the seats, composite brakes, an adjustable double-wishbone suspension, active aerodynamics and an electric power steering system.
How fast will the BMW-Toyota sports cars be?
The aggregate power output would be in the 400 to 500bhp bracket, which will be needed to overcome what our engineering sources predict will be a kerbweight under 1650 kilos. So expect the Silk Road twins to be outrageously fast.
Could the 911's hegemony as the benchmark £70k sports car be under threat? If anyone can make a dent on the Porsche's dominance, we'd back BMW and Toyota to make a fist of it...