Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the Toyota 86 sports car has been everything Toyota hoped it would be, warts and all. It’s never been the most appealing sports car of its market, but it did give the Japanese auto giant entry into a segment that it hasn’t been in since the last legs of the Toyota MR-2 back in 2007.
Good news then for fans of the 86 because Toyota has reportedly given the green light to develop the second-generation model of the sports car. Speaking with , Toyota’s European boss, Karl Schlicht, said that the second-guess 86 has been penciled in to arrive in 2019, slotting below the Supra successor that itself is on track to make its debut in 2018.
Details are still scarce on how Toyota wants to proceed with the development of the second-generation 86. At this point, it’s hard to expect anything in the way of details since the company is probably still in the process of hashing those out itself. Even Subaru’s involvement is still a mystery at this point and without a clear-cut response from either company, expect that to be one of the most talked-about facets of the second-generation 86, especially after the extent both companies co-developed the first-generation model, right do its styling and mechanical characteristics.
For his part, Schlict is hopeful that a partnership between the two Japanese brands continues, saying that there are “a lot of reasons to continue with Subaru.”
However the dominoes fall, it is reassuring to hear a Toyota higher-up vouch for plans to develop the second-generation 86. Now it’s all about waiting for more details and hoping that a lot of the real or perceived issues of the existing model will be addressed by the next-generation version.
Good news or bad news?
The Toyota 86 has its share of fans and detractors, so I won’t be surprised if this announcement of sorts will also have dissenting reactions. Fans of the 86 and Subaru BRZ should be happy because the first-gen sports cars have been very successful relative to the expectations people had for them. They had their quirks, sure, but by and large, Toyota and Subaru’s gamble to jointly develop an affordable rear-wheel sports car paid of for both companies.
On the flip side, I also know a lot of people who have been disappointed with the sports cars, particularly the hesitance of both brands to make significant updates on the cars beyond the styling changes for the 86 on the 2017 model and the subtle increase in power. And if we’re being honest, an extra five horsepower and five pound-feet of torque may technically count as “upgrades,” but not so when you consider that this is the extent of performance improvements that the 86 has had in the that it’s been around.
In some ways, a second-generation Toyota 86 could be the version of the 86 that we’ve always wanted the current-generation model to be. I count myself in the group of those who aren’t as impressed with the 86 as other people are. I had high expectations for it and it lived up to them in the first few years of its run. But as time passed on, the 86 became stale in my eyes because of the lack of significant updates made to the car.
But now that a second-generation model is reportedly on the horizon, I’m going to give Toyota (and maybe Subaru) another opportunity to turn the 86 into the car it was always supposed to be.