There Will Be No Hybrid Toyota GT 86
A hybrid version of the Toyota GT86 isn’t part of Toyota’s future plans, putting to rest rumors that the company could use the technology to offer a different, higher-performing version of the GT86. The decision to set aside a hybrid GT86 was reportedly made because it didn’t make sense from a business perspective.
Toyota marketing director Fabio Capano told Autocar that the Japanese automaker has no plans of building a hybrid GT86 despite company engineers admitting that the technology is already at an advanced stage of development. If there were a business case to be made for the vehicle, Toyota would think long and hard about green lighting it. But like most companies, Toyota wants to prioritize its time and money in pursuing other projects and a hybrid GT86 isn’t on top of its "to-do" list. So why even bother, right?
If demand for a hybrid Toyota GT86 doesn’t justify the time and effort, then why would Toyota build it in the first place? Additionally, The GT86 prides itself on being an affordable sports car with adequate power behind it. Launching a hybrid version of the model could end up cannibalizing sales of the base sports car and other future endeavors, like the return of the Supra.
Instead, Toyota is focusing on using its "advanced" hybrid technology on a car that’s more suited for it. The long-rumored sports car collaboration with BMW is one such car that could make the most of a hybrid powertrain.
Why It Matters
Demand isn’t the only thing that scared Toyota away from building a hybrid GT86. The cost of building one is also a significant hurdle. If Toyota were to build a hybrid GT86, you can expect the price tag for that sports car to reach close to $40,000.
That’s a pretty big number for a car that has so far failed to live up to the immense hype it generated when it was launched in 2012. The GT86 was all sorts of awesome back then, but with little in the way of performance improvements, it hasn’t exactly wowed us recently. A hybrid version may have piqued our interest, but our interest and buyer demand sometimes fall on opposite sides of the fence (read: SRT Viper sales).
The Toyota GT86 was developed in cooperation with Subaru, whose own BRZ sports car was also born from the same partnership. When the GT86 was unveiled, the sports car immediately became a popular sell. It wasn’t because of its pedestrian engine, but because it looked great, handled well and came with an affordable price.
Since then, the interest in the GT86 has softened. A big reason for that was the lack of upgrades given to the car’s 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated, flat-four engine. The 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque were enough when it debuted, but we all expected more power by now. With its competitors preparing faster and more powerful models, now’s the time for Toyota to give the GT86 a much-needed performance upgrade.