New Details Emerge for 86/BRZ Successor: More Power, Newish Name

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
new details emerge for 86 brz successor more power newish name

Thanks largely to its status as a niche product, the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ have been on deathwatch for years. But their saving grace as stellar machines to drive has kept them from being abandoned. The Toyobaru Twins still receive quite a bit of love, even if the affection is not spread around all that liberally. Despite this, both models are expected to receive a successor.

While a quick glance at their sales record makes this seem like a losing strategy, Toyota remains obsessed with rebuilding its reputation within motorsport (often with help from another manufacturer). Toyota head Akio Toyoda has even expressed a personal dream of returning to an era where the company has revived — or replaced — its most iconic performance models. The Supra and 86 are already here, leaving room for the Celica and/or MR2. Ditching the 86 would be a step backwards, even if it only moved 3,398 units in the United States last year — its worst showing to date.

According to Autocar, the next BRZ/86 is in the midst of development and a few details can already be set in stone — soft stone, like alabaster — for its successor. The first big change involves some rebranding.

Originally dubbed the Scion FR-S for its North American launch in 2012, the model was renamed the 86 when that brand folded — bringing it closer to naming strategies used in other parts of the world while making better reference to the AE86. While that often included a FT or GT prefix, its successor will swap those for one that ties it in with Gazoo Racing.

Thus far, GR’s passenger cars have stayed primarily in Asia, with a few being shipped to Europe to promote brand awareness. Meanwhile, Toyota Racing Development (TRD) has remained the division synonymous with performance here. But that could soon change. The Supra is sold globally as the “GR Supra” and Gazoo has created a global presence by entering into racing events around the world. It’s not a stretch to imagine the 2nd-generation coupe carrying the GR86 name everywhere its sold.

Autocar claims the next BRZ/86 will be built around Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA), which is already used by practically every model in its current lineup:

While Toyota underpinnings will be used, Subaru is expected to once again take the lead with powertrain development. Autocar understands the car is likely to retain a flat-four ‘Boxer’ engine, with reports in Japan suggesting that the existing 2.0-litre naturally aspirated unit will be switched for the turbocharged 2.4-litre powerplant currently used in the Ascent, Legacy and Outback models.

That should provide fans suggesting the current Toyobaru is woefully underpowered with some much needed rest. The presumed engine makes 260 horsepower (at 5,600 rpm) and 277 lb-ft of torque (starting at 2,000 rpm) in the Subaru Legacy. By comparison, current BRZ/86s make 205 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque with the manual transmission and a bit less with the automatic.

The downside is that this will likely result in a higher price tag and greater curb weight. But Toyota, which seems to be leading the charge, won’t want to step on the Supra more than it has to. Japan already has a bargain-basement variant of its flagship coupe with under 200 hp, requiring the brand to be extra careful in how it handles the 86. Expect both of the twins adopt a few new creature comforts the current generation lacks, without trying to become truly plush. The 2+2 twins need a dash more mainstream appeal and refinement, without sacrificing the dynamics that makes them stand-out models. Rear-drive should be maintained, and we’ll just have to pray the same is true for there being a manual option.

We’re excited for the vehicles and the prospect of Toyota bringing Gazoo Racing westward. The 268 horsepower and 273 lb-ft Yaris GR is just begging to become a local legend. There’s even a petition ( you could sign) to bring it to North America. If not, the new Toyota GR86 should be sufficiently thrilling in its stead… unless you prefer the Subaru.

[Images: Toyota Motor Corp]

Join the conversation
4 of 31 comments
  • AnalogMan AnalogMan on Jan 16, 2020

    Many of the interweb critics have probably never owned or driven a BRZ. The internet brings out a lot of armchair experts and bench racers. The issue with the BRZ is that people expect it to have Corvette power. It’s not that kind of car. Think of it as a hardtop Miata. Because that’s what it is. If you grew up with the classic sports cars of the 60’s and 70’s, MBG, Triumph, Opel GT, Fiat 124, Sunbeam Alpine, first generation RX-7, etc., then you’d see how the BRZ captures the soul and fun of those old-tyme sports cars. The BRZ is not a “numbers” car. If you want to brag about 0-60 or quarter mile times at the gym or after work at the bar, it’s not for you. It’s for people who care about sheer driving fun, about getting goose bumps from a car being hard-wired straight into your central nervous system, of feeling your hands directly connected to the road in a way that few other current production new cars can match. In other words, a Miata with a roof and more interior space. It would be nice to have another 50-ish hp and 50-ish ft-lb of torque. The 2.4 turbo from the Ascent, or the 2.0 turbo from the WRX, would be perfect. But the BRZ is already so much faster and vastly more capable than any of the 60’s/70’s sports cars ever were. Most of those ‘sports cars’ at the time had around 100 hp. 205 hp was an impossible dream that no one even talked about. A souped-up ‘race’ engine might put out 125-150 hp. 205 hp was unimaginable back then, even with the primitive turbochargers of the day. Yes, it doesn’t have a mountain of torque. So what? The Honda S2000, Miata, and Formula 1 cars aren’t known for being able to pull tree stumps out at idle either, and few people complain about them not being fun to drive. In the BRZ, you have to actually know how to use a clutch pedal and shift lever. It just feels special to drive. Mazda uses the phrase ‘jinba ittai’, ‘horse and rider as one’, to describe the Miata. The Miata is a great car, but I think it applies just as much to the BRZ. Instead of griping about how 'underpowered' the BRZ is, I would think true gearheads would recognize it for what it is - a gift from Subaru and Toyota. For the few thousand a year that they sell, they can't be making much money on it. So, to all those armchair experts out there who say they want a pure, simple, lightweight, naturally aspirated, RWD, manual transmission sports car that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, I suggest, go out and actually drive a BRZ or 86 while you can. Someone at Toyota might decide that there’s not enough of a business case to be made for a manual transmission with the next-generation BRZ/86 (like they did with the Supra). Otherwise, for those that don't buy a BRZ/86, maybe they should just stop complaining when there aren't any cars like it around.

    • See 1 previous
    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jan 16, 2020

      "It’s not that kind of car. Think of it as a hardtop Miata. Because that’s what it is." Lots of seat time in both to include owning multiple Miatas of all but the ND generation. It is fun in its own right, but is not a hardtop Miata by any stretch. Not that that is bad, but it is different.

  • Burgersandbeer Burgersandbeer on Jan 16, 2020

    I'm skeptical they would use an engine from an SUV in a sports car. Its character is at odds with the goals for the car, the displacement is not tax friendly for markets where that matters, it would make it similar to the Supra, it might bump the price out of the "affordable" range. As almost everyone in this thread has noted, it needs an engine that is more fun, not necessarily with more power. The WRX engine would make more sense, but I'm not sure if Subaru has anything that would do the job. Toyota could do better with a small NA inline four; do they have anything that can be longitudinally mounted?

  • S J I’m here to say I don’t know about H #, but in German b flat is sometimes called “H”.Thats why composers (Liszt IIRC) could compose a theme and variations on B A C H.b flat sharp would be C, so there wouldn’t be a point.
  • Tassos The original, iconic 1964 Mustang sold for about $2,000.Is anybody still in doubt that the US Dollar has gone straight to hell?
  • Tassos I just read in Electrek that Lucid had to lay off 18% of its workforce, which amounts to a HUGE (considering the very meager production numbers) ONE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED hard to replace employees laid off!!!
  • Kevin That wagon isn't worth 35,000 I paid 4,700 for a 68 chevelle and worth 80,000 today, when I bought it was 10x better shape than that but if someone wants it have at it but wouldn't be me.
  • MaintenanceCosts Assuming a level of refinement that's appropriately improved over the 9 years since the last car, these prices seem totally appropriate to me.