Next-Generation Toyota GT 86 Could Use KERS
Mention the Toyota GT 86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ to anyone who knows, and you’ll likely elicit two responses. The first is that the car has fantastic handling. The second is that it feels down on power. At this point, that second attribute is almost a joke, with enthusiasts the world over pleading for a factory variant with more straight-line speed to complement the superb chassis tuning. Well, if the latest rumors are to be believed, Toyota will provide exactly that, as the next generation looks like it may get not just a turbo, but a Formula 1-inspired kinetic energy recovery system as well.
Citing unidentified Japanese insiders, the Aussie publication Motoring is reporting that the next-gen GT 86 will come with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder similar to Mazda’s Skyactiv powerplant, with output up to 188 horsepower. KERS will be thrown in to boost performance and fuel economy.
I know what you’re thinking: “Um, that’s less than the 200 horsepower on the current generation, idiot.”
While that may be true, you gotta remember that the next-gen 86 will be based on the ultra-lightweight 2016 Mazda MX-5 platform. The current-gen 2013 Toyota GT 86 weighs upwards of 2,800 pounds, while the new Miata weighs just 2,300 pounds. The Mazda also has only 155 horsepower, yet hits 60 mph several tenths faster than the current-gen Toyota, and you don’t hear too many folks complaining about that, do you? Throw in a dose of KERS, and it looks like your prayers have been answered. Maybe.
If all goes according to plan, the new car should have the same legendary cornering agility as Mazda’s iconic roadster, paired with a heady new engine package and the same low MSRP as the first generation.
A concept for the next-gen GT 86 is expected to break cover sometime in 2017. Production models will follow, slated for showrooms in 2020 for about 2.5 million yen ($20,178 at current exchange rates, 7/15).
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Why it matters
Toyota has actually hinted at a KERS-equipped GT 86 for some time now, with speculation first popping up as early as 2012. All told, it seems as though a big, honking turbocharged engine just isn’t in the cards, whereas low weight, electric power and high efficiency are.
It seems as though a big, honking turbocharged engine just isn’t in the cards, whereas low weight, electric power and high efficiency are.
Toyota and Mazda signed a technology sharing agreement in May that gave Toyota’s engineers access to the MX-5’s chassis and suspension setup. It’s the kind of bones that should make for a superstar performer.
But where’s all this leave Subaru? The automaker co-developed the first-gen 86 with Toyota, offering its 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder for engine duties. The car is a hit, but Toyota is reportedly less than pleased with the powerplant’s fuel economy and doesn’t foresee adequate improvement for the next generation.
With the next-gen 86 using the same platform as the Mazda MX-5, Subaru would be left without its own iteration to sell. However, that might be for the best, as Motoring reports that the top brass at Subaru consider the 86 joint project to be at odds with the brand’s overall message, which has traditionally emphasized AWD dependability and safety over ass-out performance (rally-bred WRX models notwithstanding).
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