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BMW and Toyota ink deal for new sports car

Fans of the long-gone and much-mourned Toyota Supra -- and those hoping to see a successor after its 11-year absence -- can perhaps take heart in news today that Toyota and BMW have confirmed a deal to jointly produce a new sports car platform.

BMW development chief Herbert Diess told Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper the architecture would spawn two new cars. "We have agreed on a joint architecture for a sports car," Diess said, however declining to reveal more details about the platform.

Toyota has previously partnered with Subaru to produce the wildly successful Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ, but while they are near-clones, it seems the Toyota/BMW collaboration will focus on ensuring the two resultant cars are strongly differentiated. "What is important is that there will be two different vehicles that are authentic to the two brands," Diess said.

Watch our video review of the tweaked Toyota 86

The announcement is not unexpected, following the two brands making an agreement in mid-2012 to collaborate on a range of technology -- including weight-saving strategies and  lithium-air batteries -- and also consider the potential for a medium-sized sports car platform.

Toyota is tipped to be unveiling a sports concept that could point to a Supra successor at the Detroit motor show in a couple of weeks, so it's possible that a production vehicle seeded from the show car could include the BMW collaboration. However the Toyota end of the joint development could also end up wearing a Lexus badge.

And Toyota is not the only Japanese carmaker partnering with a European brand for a sports car. As we've reported previously, Mazda is collaborating with Italy's Alfa Romeo on a platform that will be the basis for both the next Mazda MX-5 and Alfa Spider.

This reporter is on Twitter: @KarlaPincott