Toyota and Subaru have reportedly begun development of the next-generation 86 and BRZ models. The lightweight FR twins are currently in their sixth model year, and have remained essentially unchanged since 2013. Addressing one of the most persistent critiques of the current model, the successor will likely receive a sizable performance boost thanks to a larger engine.
The Japan Times reported Tuesday evening that the next-gen Toyobaru will feature a 2.4-liter engine, upping displacement by 400cc from the current 2.0-liter Subaru FA20 flat-4.
Though no specifics were mentioned, the article is presumably referring to Subaru’s new FA24, the flat-4 that powers the new-for-2019 Ascent 3-row crossover. Thus far it has come in only one flavor — turbocharged with direct-injection, good for 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. However, as we all know, Toyota and Subaru have been reluctant to offer forced induction in the 86 and BRZ, so perhaps the successor will utilize a naturally aspirated version.
The article also says that Subaru’s version will have safety features such as automatic braking. Potentially, the entire Subaru Eyesight suite of safety tech will be available on the BRZ, which would add adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist. Both cars would be built in Ota, Gunma Prefecture, home to Subaru’s main manufacturing base. The production version is slated for an on-sale date sometime around 2021.
Japan’s automotive press has a reputation for generating outrageous rumors, and no sources were named in the story, so take it with a grain of salt. But, for what it’s worth, The Japan Times is a credible paper and not your typical car tabloid, which lends a bit more weight to the claims.
If true, this is very exciting news for drivers. No new car on sale today better captures the traditional Japanese sports coupe ethos than the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins. Unfortunately, many sensationalizing articles have condemned them for low sales numbers, putting their future in doubt. In fact, they were never meant to be volume sellers (in 2017, a total of 10,977 sold in the US for both models combined). Let’s hope this pans out and proves the naysayers wrong.
Image courtesy of Subaru.