EDITORIAL – 7 REASONS WHY THE TOYOTA FT-1 SHOULD USE A STRAIGHT 6, TURBOCHARGED 3 LITER BMW ENGINE
You know the chance of this happening is hard to refute if you put all the pieces together and I will gladly put my money where my mouth is and actually bet on it. Here’s why a 3JZ is not all fantasy after all…
1. BMW and Toyota got married last year and pledged to share technology. This spurned the news reels of a jointly built sports car to come in under the LF-A. The FT-1 IS that car.
2. BMW make the BEST straight 6 turbocharged engines on the planet. The N54 and N55 engines are flexible, powerful, tractable and tuneable units that in their most extreme form deliver up to 340hp stock (in the Z4 S-drive 35is M-Sport ) with huge potential for aftermarket tuning.
3. They are 3 litre units. The Mk IV Supra was a 3 litre as well. So why not badge it a 3JZ-GTE? Speculation aside, the N55 engines are not only powerful out of the box but also extremely fuel efficient to boot and in all my tests in the BMW range, each of the cars equipped with the N55 returned anywhere between 400 and 550 kilometres on a full tank and depending on the weight of my right foot. They can also hit 100kph in a tick over 4 seconds. No, this car will not get to 100 as fast as an R35 but who gives a shit? It’s Rear Wheel Drive.
4. It keeps inline with the Supra heritage and will keep the fanboys from bursting veins in their foreheads. Hoo boy, them fanboys are absolutely frothing and foaming at the mouth right now. A swoopy powerful straight 6 Mk.V Supra is just the medicine Toyota needs after the 86 and will literally drive some of them to heart failure. A Mk.V Supra to a gear-head would be like a crazed 14 year old passing out at the sight of Justin Bieber.
5. Mate the N55 to BMW’s unbelievably good ZF 8HP, 8 speed paddle shifter or offer a Manual 6 speed option for the purist of the pure and you have the makings of a world beating drivetrain. If you’ve never experienced an N55 and 8 speed twin or single clutch combo, you’re missing out and you’ll be absolutely blown away by how good it is in traffic, when cruising or when absolutely caning through a mountain pass.
6. It’s what the real drivers desperately want in the lineup. The partnership is there, the technology is there, it retains the heritage, can be customised to within an inch of its life by the tuning community and it looks absolutely brilliant for a concept.
7. If it ever happens, it will actually give the word “Hybrid” a proper place to live in. The first car in the world where I ever actually thought the word “Hybrid” worked in a proper “sports” car was in the BMW Active Hybrid 3 Series. I was absolutely stunned by the car. I went in thinking it was going to disappoint me but I actually ended up finding myself falling for it. I drove from Tokyo to Nagoya and back again on a single tank of fuel. That’s over 750km’s round trip – SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY KILOMETERS! And even though I hammered it certain parts of the way there and back, the straight 6 turbocharged unit STILL had 40km’s of range left in it.
I just hope Toyota doesn’t water down the visuals on the car too much but I would express that the majority of people looking at this car see it as a Supra. So do us all a favour Toyota… prove us right!
Build it and they will come. The R35 is proof. The 86 is proof. The Supra is needed…
7Tune – The Ultimate JDM Experience since 2005
Words – Adam Zillin