Will the Toyota Corolla be a Subject of Interspecies Breeding?
It could be big news for the compact sedan!by Robert Moore, on
Toyota’s partnership with BMW is widely known, as we all bite our nails and impatiently wait to see the next Supra in production form. But, what’s more important here is that the new Supra is being built in partnership with BMW and could find itself powered by one of BMW’s four- or six-cylinder gasoline engines. So, what the hell does that have to do with the Toyota Corolla? Well, it might have a whole lot to do with it as recent rumors have indicated that the partnership between BMW and Toyota could expand even further to bring some Bimmer DNA into the Corolla’s genetic profile.
For now, we know that the next-generation Corolla is going to be built upon Toyota’s new global architecture known as TNGA, but we don’t know much more about it. It’s been assumed that Toyota’s turbocharged 1.2-liter, the 1.5-liter (hybrid and non), and the 1.8-liter would carry over with updates to decrease emissions and improve performance. The new architecture will also make the car lighter and could lead to it adopting a longer wheelbase. These recent rumors about BMW and Toyota, however, point to the possibility that the higher trim levels, or at least the range-topping model, could find itself powered by a BMW engine.
The biggest questions right now is whether or not there is any truth to the rumors, and if so, what BMW engines will be available in the next-gen Corolla? Some are saying that Bimmer’s turbocharged 2.0-liter is the ideal candidate, but considering the Corolla is expected to grow a bit, it could very well be offered with the 3.0-liter inline-six found in the current BMW 340i Sedan if the conditions are right. As far as the 2.0-liter goes, that engine could be offered in the Corolla with anywhere between 180 horsepower and 248 horsepower. If the 3.0-liter does show itself as an available option for the next-gen sedan, it could offer up to 320 ponies, but the Corolla would also have to be offered as rear-wheel drive, so it’s quite a reach.
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What Would This Mean for the Corolla?
I’ve actually seen one story out there claim that a BMW engine would finally make the Corolla a reliable vehicle, but don’t let that kind of talk fool you. The Corolla has been around since the mid-1960s, and it wouldn’t have lasted that long if it wasn’t known as a reliable vehicle. What’s more important here is the fact that the Corolla comes with no more than a 1.8-liter four-banger with 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque, which pretty much makes it one of the world’s largest, but decent looking turds. By that, I mean that 60 mph comes in about 10 seconds and top speed tops out around 130 mph at best. With BMW’s 2.0-liter, it could have at least 180 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque just like the current BMW 320i Sedan. In the Bimmer, that’s enough to get up to 60 mph in around seven seconds, so this would be a huge improvement for Toyota’s resident compact sedan.
|BMW 320i||BMW 330i||BMW 340i||Toyota Corolla|
|Engine||2.0-liter Twinpower Turbo inline 4-cylinder||2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder||3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder||1.8-liter, 4-Cylinder|
|Horsepower||180 HP @ 5,000 RPM||248 HP @ 5,200 RPM||320 HP @ 5,500 RPM||132 HP @ 6,000 RPM|
|Torque||200 LB-FT @ 1,250–4,500 RPM||258 LB-FT @ 1,450–4,800 RPM||330 LB-FT @ 1,380–5,000 RPM||128 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM|
|Acceleration 0–60 mph||7.1 seconds||5.6 seconds||4.9 seconds||10 seconds|
|Top Speed||130 mph||130 mph||130 mph||130 mph|
The 3.0-liter is a big reach, in all reality, but if BMW and Toyota are buddied up as much as it seems, it could mean that a performance Corolla could be the horizon. Imagine this, a Toyota Corolla with 300 horsepower, rear-wheel drive, and the ability to hit 60 mph in six seconds or less. Now that would make the Corolla something to write home about. Of course, Bimmer isn’t going to shoot itself in the foot, so should a model such as this come to life, expect it to be priced much higher than the current Corolla XSE that commands $22,680 from the start. A model equipped with a BMW 3.0-liter would likely go for somewhere closer to $40,000 as the BMW 340 starts out around $48,000 as of the time of this writing. Again, the 3.0-liter would be tuned down a bit, and it’s really not likely as it would take a lot to make the Corolla rear-wheel drive, but if 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that even the craziest things are possible.
Read our full review on the Toyota Corolla here.