• Toyota FT-1 sports-car concept foreshadows product of joint venture with BMW
  • Styling is all Toyota, with engineering and packaging input from Germany
  • Production car will likely have a hybrid powertrain

When the Toyota FT-1 made an appearance recently at the famous Cars and Coffee weekend meet-up in Irvine, Calif., the puzzle pieces started to fall into place. Two summers ago, Toyota and BMW announced a partnership that included the "joint development of architecture and components for a future sports vehicle," and we can now say with reasonable confidence that the FT-1 is Toyota's half of the deal. The styling is 100 percent Toyota, courtesy of the company's Calty design studio in California, but underneath the FT-1 will share many bits with its BMW cousin -- perhaps the next Z4. Under the hood, we understand that Toyota may take the lead with advanced gas/electric hybrid technology that leverages a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.

Let's pause for reflection. A lot of Toyota fans have been concerned that the FT-1 wouldn't live up to the legend of the 1990s Supra, just as the Mazda RX-8 (Mazda's follow-up to the twin-turbo RX-7) was regarded as an inferior sequel. But now we're talking about a pure sports car infused with BMW chassis wizardry and Toyota hybrid powertrain know-how. Suddenly, the FT-1 sounds like pure awesome. If it employs the hybrid system's electric motor as torque fill until the turbo kicks in, a la the McLaren P1, it might even give owners a taste of supercar status for what's expected to be a fairly attainable price (Corvette money, we're thinking).

Of course, much of this is still speculation, but with Toyota and BMW putting their collective heads together to make a sports car, it's hard to imagine the result being anything short of amazing.

What it means to you: Stay tuned for further information as the Toyota FT-1 gets closer to production. We can't wait to get behind the wheel and see if we're suitably impressed.

author photo

Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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