Since it made its debut in early 2012, the Toyota 86 has been heralded as a saviour of the rear-wheel drive sports car. An inexpensive coupe that was conceived and developed to deliver maximum thrills for minimum expense.
Nearly five years on from that initial roll out and we’ve only witnessed minor tweaks to that original formula. It’s still as capable as ever and has no direct competitor. That is, unless you consider its twin, the Subaru BRZ, which we don’t, as they're mechanically identical.
But the everyman sports car, co-developed by those two Japanese automakers, has taken criticism for not really advancing upon the strong impression it made back then. Evidently saving the substantial changes for later, Toyota has revealed some information on the next generation car in an interview with Autocar UK.
Karl Schlicht, head of Toyota Europe, said: “The GT86 is at the stage where it’s being decided on the next one. Then a chief engineer will be assigned and away we go.”
For starters, the second-generation 86 will be available in showrooms in 2019 at the latest, therefore pegging a likely launch event to be held earlier in 2018. But more interestingly is the unconfirmed nature of the Subaru collaboration, but we wouldn’t bet against it.
“Will it be with Subaru?” added Schlicht. I don’t know. But for the concept to carry on, with the low engine, we’d have to do that. There are a lot of reasons to continue with Subaru.”
A next-generation 86 wouldn't be complete with out the low-mounted flat-four Boxer engine, Subaru’s bread and butter, and their expertise in vehicle dynamics goes without saying. Toyota are already working with BMW on their next mid-tier sports car, largely believed to be called the Supra.
For the second major version of the 86 coupe, there’s really no better partner than Subaru. And for an expansion within the model such as a convertible, a possibility that Schlicht did not reject for the next car, it’s a challenge that the combination of those two very capable automakers should be able to tackle handily.