A leaked screenshot from an internal presentation to Toyota dealers in the States suggests the next 86 coupe will debut next year. But, compared with the elemental, naturally-aspirated driver's car we know (and many, love) it will be infused with Gazoo Racing DNA and is most likely to feature a 2.4-litre turbocharged boxer motor.
The image, which was posted on the GR86.org forum, all but confirms that the next-generation coupe, which will again be a collaborative effort between Subaru and Toyota, will have a mid-2021 launch – in the US, anyway – although the impact of COVID-19 may invariably delay the release date somewhat.
The next 86 is literally in the middle of Toyota's product plans for 2021/2022. Image credit: GR86.org
The current generations of the 86 (and its discontinued – in South Africa – Subura BR-Z cousin) were launched in 2012. Powered by a 2.0-litre non-turbo 4-cylinder boxer petrol motor with a rear-end set up for easily accessible tail-sliding fun (helped by skinny Prius-spec tyres at the back) the coupe was the embodiment of a purist-pleasing rear-wheel-drive compact coupe.
It was a car singular in purpose, if not particularly powerful (even for the time). Recently, a limited run (of 86 units, fittingly) of the 86 was released in the Japanese market to pay tribute to special-edition AE86s of yesteryear and, unofficially, that the lifecycle of the current-gen sportscar would soon be at an end.
This limited-edition derivative of the current-generation 86 was released in the Japanese market recently.
Since the introduction of the 86, forced-induction engines have become ubiquitous and Toyota’s Gazoo Racing motorsport division has grown into a fully-fledged sub-brand. The Supra, for example, purposely bears a GR prefix in our market, the division has already released a GRMN version of the previous Yaris, as well as a 192-kW Euro-spec GR Yaris. Heck, if reports are to be believed, GR versions of the C-HR, Corolla hatchback and even RAV4 are coming!
The next-gen 86, which may be named the GR 86 (as per the Supra), is likely to be underpinned by a rear-wheel-drive version of Toyota’s New Global Architecture platform, while it's understood that Subaru will supply the motor.
The aforementioned forum post sensationally suggests the upcoming 86 will be powered by a turbocharged 2.4-litre 4-cylinder boxer engine, which features in the new Subaru Legacy/Liberty and Outback models in North America. That powerplant produces 194 kW at 5 600 rpm and 375 Nm at 2 000 rpm in those models.
The centrally-mounted exhaust end will certainly please the fanboys if it's retained for the production version.
Another report says the turbocharged 1.8-litre 4-cylinder boxer engine that will feature in the next iteration of the Levorg station wagon is also an option. We’ve driven the current-generation Subaru Levorg… check out our video!
Toyota currently offers the 86 in our market exclusively with a 6-speed manual ‘box, but the next-gen model is likely to be offered with a choice of stick-shift and automatic transmissions, the latter probably derived from the Sports Lineartronic CVT unit that is available in the current WRX and WRX STI.
We still can't figure out why auto transmission buttons on the fascia are combined with a 6-speed gear lever, but it's just for the look.
As for what the next 86 will look like, we expect it will incorporate cues from the 2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept, whose proportions (let alone interior architecture) is closely related to those of the current car.
The substantial performance upgrade mooted for the Aichi-based manufactures upcoming sportscar (remember, the current 86 model’s 2.0-litre engine produces “only” 147 kW and 205 Nm) will undoubtedly whet the appetites of horsepower-obsessed performance-car aficionados, but all that new forced-induction goodness will add complexity to the package and, therefore, come at a premium.
As a result, the 86 will transform from a back-to-basics (and relatively affordable) driver’s car to a baby Supra, which means its asking price will certainly eclipse R632 200, which is what the current model costs.