But the beginning of something new.
The Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 (originally called the Scion FR-S) were the long-awaited rewards of a glorious partnership between two well-established Japanese automakers. Although both cars were criticized in some quarters for not having enough power, both offered an affordable rear-wheel-drive platform for people who were looking to buy their first sports car.
Both cars are now getting on a bit in terms of age and we haven't heard a peep about possible successors. According to Japanese Nostalgic Car, this may be because both cars have reportedly been canceled.
JNC claims that an upcoming issue of Best Car, an automotive tabloid, will include a story detailing the cancelation of both cars. The issue will be released on February 26, which is a little less than a month away. When we spoke to Subaru’s head of North American communications, Ron Kiino, at the Detroit Auto Show, he seemed confident that the BRZ would live on even if it wasn't built in partnership with Toyota.
It seems as though Toyota and Subaru are simply going in different directions with their future sports cars. Subaru's direction is still unknown but Toyota is rumored to be working on a mid-engined successor to the MR2.
The 86's disappearance may also have something to do with the recent revival of the Supra. The US-spec Supra will only be powered by a BMW-sourced inline-six but other markets will receive a turbocharged four-cylinder model producing 194 or 255 horsepower. The lower output version of the Supra is awfully close to the current output of the 86, which may explain why Toyota will no longer need to have both cars in its lineup.
Toyota has also talked about having a trio of sports cars, which would include the Supra, MR2, and Celica. Perhaps a revived Celica could replace the 86, which certainly be good news for sports car fans.