More and more rumours are circling around the possible culling of the Toyota 86. Indeed, now that a 4-cylinder Supra exists in Nippon with an even smaller footprint on the road, it does seem to make the 86 redundant save for its more accessible price point. Lest we forget, the 86 was a mostly Subaru creation where I think we can all agree now, the new Supra is a BMW product. Let's call it the 2020 zeitgeist where you either collab or get left for dead.
While Subaru claims that there are plans to keep the BRZ nameplate running into a second generation, perhaps the badge will merely be relegated to the back of a compact SUV in the way the next Mitsubishi Eclipse went from Brian O'Connor's original Fast And Furious ride to the compact SUV set to launch in South Africa next month. Paul Walker will be rolling in his grave.
A quick comparison
While the current Toyota 86 is a naturally aspirated flat-four to the measure of 147kW and 205Nm, it is also blessed with a six-speed manual transmission; the wand of the purist. Meanwhile the 2.0 inline four that is being dropped into the Supra is a turbocharged (BMW B48) item and is probably good for 190kW and 400Nm (almost double the twist of the 86) – healthy numbers in comparison but the verdict is out on whether or not it will be a dual-clutch auto or a row-your-own scenario.
In fact, this is the derivative that chief engineer Tetsuya Tada insists you should buy if you’re planning on doing a 2JZ swap. Because cheaper. How cheap? We’ll see – but if it plays in the ballpark currently occupied by the GT86 then this truly looks like the end of the line.
In the US of A the GT86 will set you back around $30,000 where the base model 4-cyl Supra is set to debut at $40,000. That’s a sizeable gap – but if you consider the fact that the 86 launched in South Africa at a sticker price under R300,000 and continues to sell today at literally double that amount at R586,000 then you’d be safe to assume that die-hard Toyota enthusiasts would be happy to pay whatever it takes for their fix.
The company Toyota in 2019 is a shrewd operation, cautious and calculating. And it has certainly ridden the wave of anticipation and goodwill of the 86 to what feels close to a culmination and is set to do it all again with the Supra.
Both follow similar gestation periods; from tease, to collaborate, to tease some more before unleashing onto a frenzied fan base – and with minimal in-house R&D required thanks to partnerships with Subaru and BMW.
If anything, I think we should give them six or so years to begin teasing us with a new MR-2 built by Nissan.