For all the good press the GT 86 /FR-S /BRZ triplets are getting — not from me though — sales of the GT 86 are surprisingly slow. The FR-S and BRZ are doing pretty well, but Toyota Europe’s Vice President of R&D, Gerald Killmann, claims that the GT 86 is selling well below target in its major markets.
This puts Toyota in a tough spot because the lagging sales are clearly an indicator that European consumers simply are not satisfied with the GT 86 the way it is. Adding in more special editions or even bumping its performance would likely bring the sales numbers up. On the other hand, that would be a huge gamble, as the slow base-level sales makes it economically tough for Toyota to invest more money in building an open-top or turbocharged variant.
So what should Toyota do? Should it leave the GT 86 as is and allow it to fizzle away into nothingness a la the MR2 of the 2000s, or should it give enthusiasts what they want by chopping the top and dropping in some forced induction?
I say take the bull by the horns and drop limited-run turbo and drop-top models to get a feel for the demand — say 1,000 of each. Given those are gobbled up quickly, then start rolling out more the following year. Chances are that Toyota will stay right where it is, and we’ll witness the great collapse of the Toyobaru triplets within a decade.
Let me know what you think by sounding off in the comments below.
Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota GT-86.
Gallery Toyota GT 86
As much as I say that I am not a fan of the Toyota GT 86, it has nothing at all to do with the way it looks. Toyota and Subaru really delivered the goods when designing the GT 86, FR-S and BRZ , giving them a true sports car look and not skimping out on the details. I also cannot thrash it in terms of handling and braking, as it is a true point-and-go sports car.
That said, where I really take issue with the BRZ is the powerplant. Sure a 2.0-liter H-4 putting down 200 horsepower is nice, but that 151 pound-feet of torque at a buzzy 6,600 rpm is very pedestrian. It’s no wonder that some testers noted 7-plus-second 0-to-60 times. On top of the low torque at a high engine speed, there is the odd torque dip that some folks are screaming about.
A healthy dose of turbo will solve all three issues at once and bump the horsepower nearer to the 250-pony mark.