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Report: BMW/Toyota Sports Car Moves Closer to Production

Plans for BMW I-4, Toyota platform

So Toyota's GT 86 (sold here as the award-winning Scion FR-S) is a success--what's next for the automaker and its stable of sporty cars? We hear that the Toyota/BMW sports car project briefly mentioned late last year is still taking shape.

Motor Trend reports that the project, which would result in a sports car jointly developed by BMW and Toyota, was greenlit by none other than Akio Toyoda, the executive who put his stamp of approval on the FR-S along with the Lexus LFA supercar. It also reports that the project has been running since just before December 2011, when BMW and Toyota's partnership on diesel engines was first reported.

The final car could be something of a Frankenstein: we hear that the final product will be a mid-sized sports car--meaning at least one size up from the diminutive FR-S/BRZ--but it would probably still be based on that car's platform. The team probably won't keep the Japanese sports car's 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine, instead replacing it with a four-cylinder from BMW. Cross your fingers it's BMW's N20 2.0-liter turbocharged four (which powers one of BMW's existing sports cars, the Z4 sDrive28i), although the turbo might be scrapped in favor of a more futuristic power-adder: electricity.

Supposedly Toyota is already working on a GT86 mule with two front-wheel motors, which would pair with the rear-drive gas powertrain to make all-wheel drive. The final powertrain could make it to the new car, which would be an interesting way of differentiating it from conventional BMW stablemates like the 4 Series and Z4.

We'll see a little bit more about the BMW and Toyota sports car duo later this year, as a concept (or two) are allegedly headed to this year's Tokyo Motor Show.