Under the title Project Silk Road 2, Toyota and BMW are working together to develop a two-seat mid-engine sports car to tackle the Porsche 911.
According to a report in the British magazine Car, much of the work for this collaboration will be done by BMW. The result will be two vehicles, one wearing a BMW roundel, the other bearing a Lexus badge. The BMW version has been tentatively dubbed Z7, while the Lexus version is currently referred to as the ZC or ZR.
Powering the BMW and Lexus twins will be a twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight-six mounted behind the driver and passenger, and driving the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Helping out will be an electric motor with around 110kW of power. The car's battery pack will be slotted in between the seats, and will be recharged by regenerative braking and via mains power.
At this early stage in the cars' development, total drivetrain output is believed to be between 300kW and 370kW, and overall weight around the 1650kg mark. For reference, the current-generation Porsche 911 Carrera (above) has a 257kW/390Nm 3.4-litre boxer engine to move 1380kg worth of machine and metal. This allows for a 0-100km/h time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 289km/h.
Other high-performance features that the new German-Japanese coupe twins are likely to sport include active aerodynamics, electric power steering, composite brakes and driver-adjustable double-wishbone suspension.
The target price for Silk Road 2's resultant cars is 90,000 euros ($130,000), which, you'll be amazed to learn, undercuts the entry-level 911 Carrera by about 1000 euros in Germany.
This new mid-engine vehicle is being developed in addition to the previously announced collaborations between BMW and Toyota. These include the joint development of a mid-size sports coupe and work on components for hydrogen fuel cell drivetrains.