Toyota GR86 reportedly getting GR Corolla’s turbo three

New reports out of Japan may point to the future of the Toyota GR86 and the Subaru BRZ, two of the last bastions of lightweight sport coupes in the automotive industry. Both suggest that a GR86 powered by the GR Yaris and GR Corolla’s turbocharged 1.6-liter 3-cylinder is on the table, but they conflict in the details about whether its Subaru twin will make it. 

First up is the report by Mag-X, which has been dissected by Australia’s Drive. It says that Toyota is taking development of the GR86 in-house and installing a 1.4-liter version of the Gazoo three-pot. It may get an electric hybrid motor as well to align with carbon neutrality goals, but regardless the nimble front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout will be maintained.

One of reasons given for this move is that Tetsuya Tada, the engineer who brokered the partnerships between Toyota and Subaru for previous generations of the 86 and with BMW for the GR Supra, retired in 2021. Apparently there’s no successor who could rally the teams from both companies to continue the project.

It would be odd for Subaru sell a car without its signature boxer engine, so the BRZ might not survive if this happens. However, the report says that even if there’s no Subaru-branded twin, the company could still build the new GR86 for Toyota in its Gunma factory, as a source told Mag-X that Subaru is eager to keep its lines from idling. 

Details of the article conflict with a different account from Best Car. The Japanese magazine also reports that the next GR86 will have the GR Yaris’ turbo three with a hybrid supplement, but that it’ll retain its 1.6-liter displacement. It goes on to say that output will be 300 horsepower at least.

Because the existing platform cannot go from a boxer to a vertical in-line engine without major changes to architecture and crash structure, the next GR86 may be built on a shortened and stiffened Lexus IS platform. In this version of the story, Subaru will continue to sell a BRZ version, however.

Mag-X lays out a 2028 timeline for the next GR86, but Best Car says it’ll be out much sooner, in 2025. While the details don’t line up, the overlap in the Venn diagram indicates that the GR Yaris and GR Corolla’s 3-cylinder is a likely engine candidate. For what it’s worth, Toyota has already tested a version of the current GR86 with that motor, as a prototype for running synthetic fuel.

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