Toyota is rumored to be a month away from announcing the end of the Toyota 86 entry-level sports car.
You could see this one coming from a mile away. The sport compact market isn’t exactly a growing one (quite the opposite, in fact), and now that the Toyota Supra is set to arrive later this year (or possibly early next year) the humble 86 seems ripe for replacement after 7 years production.
According to a report from Japanese Nostalgic Car (via Autoblog), Toyota will announce the end of the GT86 next month. "Apparently, Subaru and Toyota have deviated on their development policies, and have decided to take separate roads,” writes the publication, meaning that both carmakers will no longer share construction of the entry-level sports car, which Subaru badges as the BRZ.
Some might argue this as a little short-sighted as the US will only see the more powerful, 6-cylinder variant of the Supra that outclasses the 86 in most respects. However, Europe and Japan receive a smaller, 4-cylinder version of the Supra that makes similar power to the 86 and seems ripe to take its place in Toyota’s lineup.
Which is a real shame. Although technically impressive, the Supra is little more than a rebadged BMW Z4, and bears a significant price increase over the vastly cheaper 86. Simple construction and off-the-shelf components made the 86 the sort of entry-level sports coupe that hadn’t been seen since the late ‘90s or early 2000s.
Japanese Nostalgic Car also reports that while the 86 might not be long for this world a new car might come to replace it. A reborn Toyota MR2 might be in the works with an electrified powertrain and the same short wheelbase that makes the 86 such a dream to drive. Subaru would once again be the main manufacturer while Toyota provides electric powertrain technology in the arrangement.
Or it’s possible that the 86 will never get replaced and this is the last we’ll see of it. Sports cars are a dying breed outside of the luxury and supercar segment, and as we head into an electric autonomous future we might never see such vehicles again.