Regular Car Reviews once pondered whether the Subaru BRZ would be the car to save us all. And now, like Jesus, it may have to die for the sins of others. In this case, the sins of Toyota and BMW.
Allow me to explain my clunky, poorly-thought out, probably Biblically incorrect metaphor: the latest rumor surrounding the Toyota-BMW partnership is that the Bavarian brand could replace Subaru as Toyota's partner for their small, lightweight, rear-drive sports car.
We still don't know what form or forms that partnership will take exactly, but Australia's Drive reports Toyota is mulling a partner change for the next generation of GT86, aka Scion FR-S.
This is in addition to that high-end sports car BMW and Toyota are supposedly collaborating on. From the story:
The Japanese car maker is currently collaborating with BMW on the development of a high-performance sports car to sit above the 86. The chief engineer responsible for both, Tetsuya Tada, told Drive the program with the German brand could be expanded to include the next 86.
"Maybe, but this is not decided at the moment," Tada said when asked if Subaru's parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, would remain involved in the development of the 86.
When quizzed on whether BMW could take over its role in the partnership, he said: "That is one possibility."
You'll recall that all versions of the Toyobaru are built by Subaru and use one of Fuji Heavy's boxer engines. If Subaru is cut out of the loop, what does that mean for the future of their BRZ? Drive says that means the current car could be just a one-hit wonder. Or they could keep making theirs and it will have to battle with a competitor from Toyota and BMW.
In the Drive interview, Tada alludes to the possibility of a radically different direction for the next 86, like an inline-cylinder engine, turbocharging or a performance-oriented hybrid system. That last part is interesting because Toyota's European marketing director said hybridization is unlikely for that car.
Take all of this stuff with a big grain of salt, but the fact that Tetsuya Tada says it's even a possibility that BMW could replace Subaru on this project is highly intriguing. I like the formula behind the BRZ/GT86 quite a bit, so I hope at least one of these companies doesn't screw it up.