The replacement for the Toyota GT86, due to be named the GR86, will come out next year with a 255hp turbocharged petrol engine, alleged leaks from US dealer presentations reveal.
Posted on Instagram by regular scoop source Allcarnews, the Toyota-branded slideshow reveals that the sportscar is planned for a summer 2021 debut, between an all-new crossover and a ‘CUV’. There's no clear indication that the Subaru version, the replacement for the BRZ, will make its debut at the same time, but it’s entirely likely.
The post also claims that the GR86 and BRZ will sit on a new platform and produce 255hp from a forced-induction engine. This is likely to be the 2.4-litre flat-four unit that Subaru uses in the US-spec Ascent.
The GT86 and BRZ were launched in 2012, and their future had been in doubt for years because of relatively low sales in a declining market. However, both companies have committed to developing a replacement, with the GR86 being a key part of Toyota's growing performance car line-up.
Toyota boss Akio Toyoda is a major proponent of using performance models to boost the brand’s image under the Gazoo Racing division, which also includes Toyota’s various motorsport programmes.
The original GT86 predates the creation of the brand, which started with the GR Supra and will also include the GR Yaris, the first model developed purely by Gazoo Racing. The next GT86 is set to be rebranded to bring it in line with that nomenclature.
The next-gen sportscar will feature some substantial changes from the existing model. While the original was built on a Subaru platform, the firm’s current architectures are not suited to rear-drive cars, so our sister publication, Autocar UK, understands that the new model is set to be built on Toyota’s TNGA platform.
With Toyota taking the lead on the platform side, it is up to Subaru to once again provide the propulsion. The existing 2.0-litre naturally aspirated unit will be switched for the turbocharged 2.4-litre boxer powerplant currently used in the Ascent, Legacy and Outback models.
The engine produces 255hp in the Ascent, a figure that would represent a significant upgrade on the outgoing model’s output. Forced induction would also provide a substantial torque upgrade over the old car, providing a draw for those who weren’t satisfied with the performance of the outgoing GT86 and BRZ. Both brands may wish to retain the drivability and character of a naturally aspirated unit, but this needs to be balanced with what buyers are demanding – and that appears to be the on-tap grunt of a turbocharged unit.
Toyota and Subaru will also want to improve the aesthetic appeal of the new car, both inside and out. The old GT86 and BRZ were widely criticised for their low-rent cabin, so expect improvements in technology, material usage, and fit and finish. Whether or not the model becomes more of a true four-seater in order to really help it stand up against more practical rivals remains to be seen.
Such changes – particularly the power upgrade – would be likely to see the price of both cars increase. However, both brands will be conscious of the proximity of more premium models like the Audi TT and BMW Z4. Toyota won’t want to tread on the toes of its own Supra, either; particularly in Japan, where a four-cylinder version of the reborn sportscar is on offer.
The second-generation BRZ and GT86 will build on expanding links between Subaru and Toyota. In addition to the sportscar, the two firms are teaming up to develop a new EV platform and electric SUV.