Rumor around the interwebs is that Toyota and Subaru will join forces for not only the next-generation BRZ/86, but also the next WRX STI. The scuttlebutt comes courtesy of Japan’s automotive-tabloid-best-picked-up-with-can-coffee-and-onigiri-at-your-local-convenience-store industrial complex, so taking the news with a mountain of salt would be advised. Nevertheless, here’s what’s being reported.
According to Best Car magazine, Toyota and Subaru will jointly produce the next Impreza sedan and the WRX STI on Subaru’s new Global Platform architecture. With the EJ20 engine coming to an end, the car will run a turbocharged FA20 (likely an FA24 for the US market) and will debut in 2021-22.
The companies want to produce the “best AWD” system, Best Car‘s sources say, and to do that they must join like Voltron. Currently, Toyota competes in WRC with the Yaris, and is actively developing AWD on that front. Sadly, that also Subaru is unlikely to return to WRC, as bigger brother Toyota would not want Subaru to show them up too hard on a global stage. The possibility of Subaru in direct competition is, according to the article, “not high.”
The rumors come quickly on the heels of Subaru’s announcement of the EJ20 engine’s end of production. Recently, Subaru announced the sale by lottery of 555 EJ20 Final Edition WRX STI cars with specially-built balanced engines. Reportedly, about 6,000 applications were received (with WR Blue being the overwhelming winner in color choice, natch).
Best Car believes that the decision was prompted by Toyota’s recent increase in its ownership of Subaru’s stock, from 16.83 to 20 percent. The article leaves room for the fact that it could be a jointly developed AWD system, but also an entire rebadged car. Who knows. All we know is that there just a good a chance that Toyota is going to name it the 2000GT.