When released back in 2012, Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ (the same cars except for the badge) immediately draw attention from sports car lovers. The naturally-aspirated boxer engine placed in front of the car and transferring power to the rear wheels was somewhat an unexpected combination, but it ensured the ideal 50/50 weight distribution between front and rear axles. As of late, however, the car was shown a side in favor of the new Supra.
It was the most talked about topic in car magazines and TV shows this past year. The new Supra has generated a huge amount of hype, which culminated with rumors that Toyota will discontinue the production of 86. Fortunately, the rumors proved to be unfounded after Toyota and Subaru denied them and confirmed that they are working on the new generation. We feel that the 2021 Toyota 86 will be even bigger news from the Japanese manufacturer and their South Korean partner.
The lack of any photo evidence of the new model forced us to turn to our trusted crystal ball to try and discern what it may look like when it finally arrives. Please note that everything that follows is just an educated guess and once the real photos are released, we will publish them.
The designers of Supra went with a mild, neutral look, especially of the front part, which has drawn some mixed reviews. The new GT86 will probably go the other way, creating a much bolder design that will cause some controversy among the critics.
Perhaps the most obvious choice for the inspiration may be original AE86, which would give new GT86 lifted rear and sharp nose lines, with dramatic and sharp shoulder shapes.
The elevated back could provide enough room for 2+2 coupe concept, something the original 86 possessed. The front will be heavily modified, together with new triple LED headlamps and a full LED light bar in the back.
The cabin will be brought up to speed and modernized to include all new gizmos that have been created in the past six years since the release of the first model. The new ergonomic design will more driver-oriented. The outdated infotainment system will be swapped with a new one, that will be based on a large touchscreen and will offer support for Apple CarPlay phone mirroring. The standard safety system will also be included, like pre-collision braking, pedestrian detection, reverse automatic braking, road sign assist, blind spot detection, lane tracing assist, and adaptive cruise control.
One thing that vexed a lot of people in the original 86 was the lack of a turbocharged engine in the options. Even though the naturally aspirated boxer four performed great, delivering 197 horsepower to rear wheels, there was some clamor demanding turbocharged version as well.
As it happens, Subaru has developed a new turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder boxer engine that could be an option, next to the standard 2.0 liter naturally aspired version. Subaru uses it in Subaru’s Ascent large SUV and the all-new Legacy, where it performs excellently, delivering 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. Compared to the standard version, that would be a significant upgrade in performance.
The reason why the original 86 didn’t have a turbocharged version is that the platform it was built on couldn’t handle it, according to the chief engineer of the 86 and Supra, Tetsuya Tada. The platform is being co-developed between Toyota and Subaru and hopefully, it will be able to take the strain of powerful turbocharged engine, like the BMW’s one Toyota is using for the new Supra.
The new GT86 will have a lot of competition. Its main rivals will be Ford’s 2.3-litre Ecoboost Mustang, Audi TT, Mazda MX5, Nissan 370Z, and even Toyota’s own Supra. The Supra version with 2.0-litre, JDM-only format sounds especially dangerous, but Toyota won’t be selling that version in North America., so at least GT86 will have one less competitor there.
Neither Toyota nor Subaru have announced a date for the release of the new 86 or BTZ but it sounds reasonable that we will get to see both cars somewhere in the late 2020 or early 2021. Until then, we are eagerly awaiting any news for either company about the look and specs of the new model.