Toyota will get a little less boring with a GT86 and Supra in its upcoming lineup.
With the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ being joined at the hip (or rather, the engine bay), it would be safe to assume what happens to one will probably happen to the other. Recently Subaru announced a list of changes that would be made to the 2017 BRZ, with a reduction in trim options being a part of that list. Initially we thought this could mean that Subaru (and in turn, Toyota) was gearing up to phase it out of production, but thanks to what Toyota Europe boss Karl Schlicht told Autocar, we now know the duo is safe…for now.
While the Toyota 86 (previously known as the Scion FR-S before Toyota’s appeal-to-the-youth brand fell under) and Subaru BRZ are held up high in the minds of enthusiasts, their sales numbers don’t exactly place the two cars high on the priority list of either automaker. That’s why the darker recesses of our minds found the chopping block a possibility. However, Schlicht has confirmed that the Toyota 86 will see a second generation come to light either in 2018 or 2019. “The GT86 will carry on,” said Schlicht. “The car serves a big purpose. We are not getting out of that business. Sporty cars go through their phases. It’s our intention to continue with that car.”
Assuming Subaru is in on the new car, it makes sense that the automaker wants to refresh the BRZ before it sends the final version on its way. Unfortunately, despite comments made in 2014 by Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, president of Subaru’s parent company Fuji Heavy Industries, it's not yet clear if Subaru will help build the second generation, which would drastically alter the GT86’s recipe. That’s because the 2.0-liter four-banger under the hood is a boxer engine by Subaru. Toyota makes no such powerplant, but if it decides to replace that with one of its taller engines, the center of gravity on the GT86 would rise and change up the vehicle’s dynamics.
For now, Schlicht thinks that the low engine must remain, although, like most enthusiasts, he claims it could use more power. Even with a boost in output, the GT86 would have to reside under the upcoming Supra, which Toyota is building in collaboration with BMW (spreading the cost of niche cars between automakers helps convince the bean counters to keep the genre alive). Whatever happens, we can at least rest easy knowing that Toyota will still make a car for purists, but, as Schlicht reminded Autocar, don’t expect a topless variant to come to market anytime soon.