The Toyota 86 Will Never Be Turbocharged, so Shut Up About It

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
the toyota 86 will never be turbocharged so shut up about it

Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer for the Toyota 86 and upcoming Supra, has finally stamped out the possibility of a from-the-factory turbocharged version of the Toyobaru coupe. That’s right, enthusiasts, the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ are incapable of being turbocharged.

According to Tada, installing a turbo on the model’s 2.0-liter Boxer engines would require an entirely new platform. That’s odd, considering every reputable aftermarket company offers a turbo kit for it. Equally strange is the automaker’s total unwillingness to seriously entertain the idea of a turbocharged Toyobaru, even though it knew the public was clamoring for one.

“When we launched 86, I got literally millions of questions from around the world of ‘when would you be launching the turbo version?'” Tada said. “I believe that often times I answered that there won’t be a turbo version, and there were some articles in the media that Mr. Tada doesn’t like a turbo.”

In defense of the media, Tada-san has made their ugly jobs very easy by perpetually refusing the prospect of forced induction. Toyota and Subaru seemed interested in building a very specific kind of car — and neither wants the recipe tampered with. In an interview with CarAdvice, the chief engineer defended the claims against him.

“I do like turbos, however if we come up with a turbo version of the 86 and boost up the power that would result in the necessity of changing the basic configuration completely, to come up with a car that I would be satisfied with,” Tada explained. “One characteristic of the 86 is that in terms of the front balance its slightly front loaded so it makes the handling more fast and agile. So if we were to come up with a turbo version, we would have to go change the weight balance between the front and the rear … That means we have to come up with a completely new platform, so it’s not about just changing or slight modification in the engine parts.”

Companies like GReddy and HKS would beg to differ. If Toyota doesn’t want to mess with what it has, they will provide the alternative to a factory turbo that is never going to happen. In fact, that’s probably part of the 86/BRZ magic — it’s a fun and focused performance platform that lends itself to upgrades. Don’t like those easy-drifting narrow tires? Get something wider. Seeking more power? Well, there are dozens of aftermarket outlets that are happy to take your money if Toyota won’t.

Tada’s answer as to why a turbocharged Toyobaru is an impossibility is about as satisfying as a dry sneeze. But it does finalize the matter. No, Toyota will not be bringing out a Gazoo Racing edition of the 86 with a boosted engine. If that’s what you’re in the market for, you’ll either have to order parts and employ a little DIY or shop elsewhere. If all you want is more horsepower and rear-wheel drive, Ford’s Mustang can be had for roughly the same price. However, if you want the surgical precision of a smaller, lighter, and more dialed-in coupe, Toyota still recommends purchasing an 86 and leaving its powertrain alone.

[Images: Toyota]

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  • Leonard Ostrander Leonard Ostrander on Mar 13, 2018

    Stop the whining. Those of us who love the 86, buy them. We are not interested in your opinions. No one is forcing any of you to buy an 86. Shut up already.

    • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Mar 13, 2018

      Exactly this, those who wanted one already bought one , so they don't have to watch Japanese drifting cartoons anymore. Without a newer fancier model to entice them like MX5 owners have to look forward to this will likely die off as soon as the Supra rolls into the showroom through the bi-hinged glass doors, placed directly in front of a black roofed white Camry V6 screaming "look we do sporty again!, it's as good as 1993" Acura does the same with the NSX and TLX in their showrooms, and not many are buying either.

  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Mar 14, 2018

    None of the aftermarket turbochargers are even remotely emissions compliant. In order to package the turbocharger, the integrated exhaust manifold/catalytic converter need to be removed. That's most likely a local problem for inspection and definitely a federal offense. The practical solution for boost from the factor is a top-mounted supercharger (think a crab sitting on top of the intake). Or, even better, go with a 2.5L making 250 hp. It's doable. People are getting 200ish at the wheels out of the factory setup (that's good for about 235 magazine horsepower from a 2 liter).

    • Carlo Rossi Carlo Rossi on Apr 04, 2018

      “None of the aftermarket turbochargers are even remotely emissions compliant.” -Ricky Spanish That’s not true. A company called Works makes a 50 state legal turbo kit. Back to the point at hand. A 200hp toyobaru is a good car the same way an AC Ace was a good car. Or a 140hp 240sx was a good car. Shelby came along and “solved” a problem yet thought not to exist and made the Cobra, which was much much better than the Ace ever was. The 240sx was a good but underpowered car until guys started throwing SRs into them. If only Toyota or Subaru could get it through their thick skulls that we like the really good car they made, we’re just dying for them to make a great one.

  • Jim Bonham Thanks.
  • Luke42 I just bought a 3-row Tesla Model Y.If Toyota made a similar vehicle, I would have bought that instead. I'm former Prius owner, and would have bought a Prius-like EV if it were available.Toyota hasn't tried to compete with the Model Y. GM made the Bolt EUV, and Ford made the Mach-E. Tesla beat them all fair and square, but Toyota didn't even try.[Shrug]
  • RHD Toyota is trying to hedge their bets, and have something for everyone. They also may be farther behind in developing electric vehicles than they care to admit. Japanese corporations sometimes come up with cutting-edge products, such as the Sony Walkman. Large corporations (and not just Japanese corporations) tend to be like GM, though - too many voices just don't get heard, to the long-term detriment of the entity.
  • Randy in rocklin The Japanese can be so smart and yet so dumb. I'm America-Japanese and they really can be dumb sometimes like their masking paranoia.
  • Bunkie The Flying Flea has a fascinating story and served, inadvertently, to broaden the understanding of aircraft design. The crash described in the article is only part of the tale.
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