There may not be a next-generation Subaru BRZ or Toyota 86, according to reports coming out of Japan. The automotive tabloid Best Car is prepared to report in their upcoming February 26 issue that the Toyobaru twins will be canceled. Apparently, Subaru and Toyota have deviated on their development policies, and have decided to take separate roads. However, we think this might make way for the return of the MR2.
The death of the BRZ and 86 was probably in the cards the moment they announced the new A90 Supra. Although the US will only receive an inline-6 Supra, in Japan Toyota will offer a four-cylinder version making 197 horsepower. That, my friends, is eight horsepower less than a Toyota 86.
However, several rumors about a mid-engined Subaru sports car have surfaced in the last six months or so. If true, that would mean Toyota could be a partner and rebadge it as an MR2.
Akio Toyoda has said his dream has always been to have a trio of sports cars in the Toyota lineup, the Three Brothers as he frequently calls them. Since there isn’t much separation between the 86 and Supra, the MR2 could replace the 86.
In this scenario, something smaller like the Toyota S-FR concept could become the third brother. Unfortunately, its size would probably mean it would only sell in Europe and Japan, skipping the US market entirely.
Or, Toyota and Subaru could still go ahead and develop their own entry-level sports cars completely separately. But as we have seen, Toyota seems unable to produce sports cars of their own.
UPDATE: was able to get in touch with a Toyota spokesperson, who responded, “As Akio Toyoda said at the reveal of the 2020 Supra, Toyota is committed to building exciting vehicles, including sports cars. The 86 has been in the Toyota family since 2013 and the plan is that it will continue to be a part of Toyota’s sports car line-up.”
Whether that means a new generation is not definitive. It could mean that the current car would live on in some way. Regardless of what Toyota and/or Subaru choose to do, the world could definitely use more lightweight sports coupes.