It may be hard to believe, but the Toyota 86 (or GT86, depending on the market) sports coupe has been with us for six years now and, despite a modest facelift, should be approaching the end of its life cycle. Thus, the logical question is whether it will get a successor – and if so, what form it might take.
Quoting local magazine BestCar, which is said to be prepping a report on the issue that will come out on February 26, JapaneseNostalgicCar claims that the 86/Subaru BRZ duo will not get direct replacements.
According to them, the 86 will be indirectly replaced by the new and more expensive Supra. In its home market, the sports car is offered with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, available in two outputs. The lesser SZ gets 194 HP (197 PS / 145 kW) and 236 lb-ft (320 Nm) of torque. That’s 11 hp (11 PS / 8 kW) less and 80 lb-ft (Nm) of torque more than the 86. The Supra SZ-R has 254 HP (258 PS / 189 kW) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque.
Normally, we would have left it at that, but something didn’t gel. The compact rear-wheel drive coupe received mostly positive reviews, as it was very fun to drive. The only thing (apart from some hard plastics and the nominal rear seat space) everyone moaned about was that it didn’t have that much power, as the chassis could easily handle more than the flat-four’s 200 PS. Why on Earth would Toyota decide to ditch such a model when its CEO, Akio Toyoda, is an avid car enthusiast and has promised that more sports cars will join the brand’s range?
It doesn’t make much sense, so we contacted Toyota. And the answer we got from U.S. spokesperson Nancy Hubbell, reads as follows:
“As Akio Toyoda said at the reveal of the 2020 Supra, Toyota is committed to building exciting vehicles, including sports cars. The 86 has been in the Toyota family since 2013 and the plan is that it will continue to be a part of Toyota’s sports car line-up.”
This seems to contradict the Japanese magazine’s claims – and we’re inclined to believe Toyota’s spokeswoman. We do have to note, though, that Toyota neither confirmed nor denied anything; they just said the 86 will continue to be in the brand’s range, without clarifying if they were referring to the current model, which may soldier on for longer than usual, or a replacement that could pop up in a year or two.
We will go out on a limb here and say that the 86 will get a successor, but it might not be co-developed with Subaru this time around. And there’s a very good reason for that.
Although Toyota rolled out a number of special editions, some of which in collaboration with the TRD performance division, they declined to bow to customer (and Press) pressure and launch turbocharged version. As they explained, this was mostly due to engineering constraints, as they couldn’t fit a turbo in the Subaru-sourced flat-four in that engine bay without ruining the car’s balance. We find it hard to believe that Toyota won’t listen to its customers, so the second-gen 86 should be more powerful than the current iteration.
Perhaps the previous, debunked, report did get one thing right, though: since the Supra is offered in its home country with longitudinally-mounted turbo inline-fours, they could be ideal candidates for the next-gen 2+2 compact coupe. On the other hand, Toyota might opt to rework today’s 86, ironing out its (few) negatives and, somehow, coming up with a bit more power, something that could, once again, be done in collaboration with Subaru.