I had given up the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ for dead. Oh they’re still in production, and the two tire-slayers are absolute joys to drive even in traffic, but its Toyota and Subaru parents haven’t really done much with them. More power? Nope. Rally version? Not from the factory. But word on the street is, there will soon be a new one.
The report is admittedly extremely thinly sourced, in that it only cites “sources.” That’s it. But it’s not from some low-rent Australian bogan magazine. It’s from the Japan Times, which is usually ever-so-slightly more credible:
Toyota Motor Corp. has started developing its next 86 sports car model with Subaru Corp., aiming to launch the compact rear-wheel-drive sports vehicle around 2021 with improved performance, according to sources.
The 86 (Hachi-roku) sports car will be produced at Subaru’s plant in Gunma Prefecture. Toyota hopes the new model will attract new customers and raise its corporate image, the sources said Monday.
The new 86 model is likely to have an engine size of 2,400 cc, up from the current 2,000 cc, and will provide a lower center of gravity for greater stability in curves.
There are three good bits of information in there. The first is that it’s happening at all, the second is that Toyota and Subaru are still doing it together (MOM AND DAD ARE STAYING TOGETHER, etc. etc., but genuinely, Subaru does engines well and Toyota can still make a chassis), and finally, the engine is getting bigger.
Yes, the engine is getting bigger. If there’s one lament that’s consistently spewed forth from the mouths of aficionados ever since the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ first debuted nine decades ago in 2012, it’s that the car could use a little more oomph. Those people were wrong, as slow car fast is better, but in all fairness 200 horsepower these days is very much not a lot. It really could use more.
A turbo, we begged. Maybe just a breath of cold air on it here or there. But no. Slow car fast it was born, and slow car fast it always would be.
But maybe not for much longer.