Subaru tells us the sports car siblings don't share the same fate.
The Subaru BRZ has been on sale since 2012 and has changed very little since. That's not necessarily a bad thing but one must wonder whether a complete redesign will eventually happen. After all, it was developed and continues to be built alongside the Toyota 86, formerly the Scion FR-S.
Subaru handles production for both at its factory in Japan. With the coupe's past and present very much still tied together, does this also mean their respective futures are as well?
We spoke with Subaru's head of North American communications, Ron Kiino, at Detroit and inquired about the BRZ's future; specifically, whether Subaru would proceed with a second-gen model if Toyota opts to drop the 86.
"The car has been great for the brand, certainly one of the halo vehicles from a performance perspective," Kiino told us. "As far as giving customers a Subaru feel, a lightweight sports car, the boxer engine is a big part of that. For our brand we think the BRZ makes sense and we feel there's a demand."
When pressed about a situation where Toyota decides not to do a new 86, would that translate to an immediate death sentence for a new BRZ?
"No, it's not an immediate death sentence," for BRZ, Kiino clarified. Unfortunately, he was unable to go into detail as to what a potential second-gen BRZ could entail, but Kiino felt very confident that if a new coupe were to happen, it would retain its main identity, meaning rear-wheel-drive and a boxer engine.
Would that engine be connected to a hybrid assist system, as can be done with the Crosstrek? It's certainly possible but Kiino, again, couldn't talk details. But the bottom line good news for BRZ fans is that Subaru has deemed the current generation a success, both for brand image and from a sales perspective, two vital factors that can ultimately determine whether or not a vehicle lives on or is given the ax.