Toyota GR 86 confirmed for 2021

Published: 30 March 2020

► Plans finally firming for 86 replacement
► Leaked presentation reveals July 2021 launch date
► Rear-wheel-drive will continue

Leaks from within a Toyota dealer conference in the USA reveal that the next-generation Toyota 86 will be revealed in July 2021.

The closed-door dealer presentation got away from Toyota when a full suite of future products was detailed on online forum The slides from the presentation show a (North American) summer 2021 unveil, and reports from the conference support the rumours that the next-gen GR86 will come with up to 264 bhp of turbocharged power. 

GR not GT?

GR was the brainchild of Toyota president Akio Toyoda, who believes motorsport makes production cars ever better. It also develops Toyota’s people, encouraging them to be quick and flexible thinking, with a problem-solving mentality. And it creates fans for a brand that’s generally low on emotional appeal. After the officially-named GR Supra and now GR Yaris, the 86 will adopt the same Gazoo Racing prefix.

Despite a seeming eternity since the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ were launched upon the world in 2012, both brands are now ramping up development of a successor that would see the next-gen model receive turbocharged power to the tune of 264bhp.

No word is given on Subaru's iteration, but it's entirely likely that'll lob at the same time as the Toyota GR 86 mid-next year. 

It’s also reported that the sports car duo will be based on a Toyota-derived platform rather than following in their predecessor's footsteps by utilising Subaru-sourced underpinnings.

There are no rear-wheel drive-suitable models available in the Subaru stable currently, so the move to a TNGA platform will ensure the new sports car’s dynamics come alive - though Subaru is expected to continue to supply the powerplant.

A turbo on the cards? 

It’s understood that the car is likely to retain a boxer-style flat-four-cylinder engine but the 2.0-litre version we know could be swapped out for a larger capacity 2.4-litre turbocharged unit that’s currently used in Subaru’s range.

Subaru’s hulking US-market Ascent SUV ekes out just over 251bhp from the engine - known as an FA24 - so we wouldn’t put it past Toyota/Subaru to nudge it up to 264bhp when the engine is put into service in a performance car.

Forced induction is something 86 fans have been longing for and the pronounced torque hole of the current car's 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated flat-four is well documented, so the superior torque of a turbo alternative should be welcome.

Both Toyota and Subaru are expected to improve the tangible aspects of the 86/BRZ successor to approach a broader range of sports car buyers, too.

Where currently the car is focused on no-frills, no-nonsense, driving purity mixed with affordability, its replacement is expected to bring a lift in safety technology, materials and fit and finish that could see the car positioned slightly more upmarket than it is currently.

Of course, we’re not sure what that will do to the price point, but Toyota won’t want to tread on the toes of the rest of its GR-performance range which already includes the Supra (which already has a budget-oriented turbo four-cylinder in some markets) and GR Yaris.

Toyota's renewed focus on performance is starting to see the Japanese auto giant shed its 'cars as whitegoods' reputation, a stance driven by CEO Akio Toyoda who is a keen car enthusiast himself.

The recent push to market Toyota through its GR performance arm is largely attributed to Toyoda's desire to see his company recapture some of its past glory, and if it can add another feather to its cap in the form of a turbo-motivated GR 86, we imagine Akio would be a happy man.

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