The Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ were already a hotly anticipated model even before it was first launched in 2012. Thanks to its philosophy of lightweight, rear-wheel drive goodness, it proved a hit to buyers too. Of course, it was also a homage to a much beloved model in the automotive scene, the original AE86.
Over the years though it’s only received minor updates (more cosmetic than performance) and a few “one off” special editions. Now that it's creeping up to its eighth year in production, some of its fans are clamoring for an all new model. Now, there's an answer to that.
A post on GR86.org (an online forum) shows a photo of a timeline presented to Toyota dealers in the USA. The all-new car is slated to have GR prefixed to its name. GR, or Gazoo Racing, is Toyota's in-house performance division and racing team. Currently, there are 2 cars carrying the GR badge, namely the Yaris and Supra. GR is also responsible for the brand's successful Le Mans program among others.
The leaked photo shows the launch of the all-new GR86. They're pegging it sometime during the summer months of 2021 (at least in the USA). That means it might make its debut between June to August of that year. This come’s after both Toyota and Subaru strengthened their alliance recently, as the former increased its stake in the latter from 16% to around 20%.
Part of the post in GR86.org mentioned that it will use Subaru's new 2.4 litre turbocharged engine, which currently powers the Outback, Legacy, and Ascent/Evoltis. If true, it addresses the common remark of the sports coupe not being turbocharged. In the three aforementioned vehicles, the 2.4-liter boxer turbo produces 263 PS at 5,600rpm and 375 Nm of torque at 2,000rpm; a significant increase from the previous engine output of 206 PS and 212 Nm of torque.
Unfortunately, the leaked photo didn't show what the final design will look like. However, it could draw inspiration from the 2017 GR HV Sports Concept, which even featured a convertible configuration.
While this leak does stir up some excitement for the car's fans, it must be pointed out that no official word from either brand has come to confirm anything just yet. For now, we'll just have to wait until the middle of 2021 to get answers.