Toyota Teams Up with BMW in Creation of New FT-1 Concept

American drivers are most familiar with Toyota sedans and minivans as reliable vehicles that get families to and from soccer practice, and remain on the road for a lifetime. Toyota superfans are more familiar with its roots in auto racing, and that heritage is on display in the latest Toyota FT-1 Supra concept car. Fans of the Supra models have been itching for a new, updated vehicle, and Toyota has delivered.

Toyota showed off its latest concept for the FT-1 Supra at recent auto shows in Detroit and New York, but the biggest surprise was its partner in designing a production model of the FT-1.

Two Versions Unveiled
The FT-1 sports-car concept was first unveiled to fans as a virtual version known as the FT-1 Vision Gran Turismo, and was associated with the 15th anniversary of the popular racing video game franchise Gran Turismo. The other version was a real-life concept referred to as the FT-1 Supra.

The second vehicle boasts a graphite exterior hue, and is labeled by the manufacturer as an “upscale interpretation” of the FT-1. Fans of the Supra series saw the shape and style of the concept as a hint that it could be the successor to the popular Supra. The new concept vehicle does depart from the standard set by the Supra in terms of interior appearance. While the original Supra featured black trim with red, painted edges and raw metals as accents on the interior, the FT-1 concept features natural leather seats and an all-natural grain that is reminiscent of the inviting interior of a sedan.

Inspired by Gran Turismo
Toyota admitted that production of the FT-1 Vision Gran Turismo for the video game franchise gave the company a chance to test drive its concept in a virtual world before investing money in production of a real-life model. Although Toyota remains tightlipped on production of the FT-1 Supra, it did have a surprise to share.

The company is pursuing the development of a sports car platform alongside German manufacturer BMW. While Toyota would put the platform to use on the FT-1 Supra, it is believed BMW is developing a replacement for the Z4 sports car.

Details Few and Far Between
Toyota has taken the FT-1 Supra concept to a number of auto shows, and it was at the New York International Auto Show that fans saw some changes unveiled. Although the changes were minor, it is a sign that Toyota is moving closer to putting the car into production. Details are emerging about the appearance and differences in the latest FT-1, the most detailed of which is the information on the available engines. Rather than selecting a V6 or V8 for the FT-1, Toyota is reportedly going with a smaller 2.0 L inline 4 cylinder, which represents the platform’s cooperative design with BMW. As for a specific release date, Toyota won’t say any more than “late 2015.” Mark your calendars: hopefully by December, this brand-new vehicle could be yours.

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