The sports coupe world is about to get a rude awakening as the Toyota GR86, arguably the best car of its kind if not the only one, could be discontinued soon. But fear not, because Japanese media is reporting a next-gen GR86 has just entered development and should hit the market in 2025 with a hybrid turbo motor.
First the good news. Japanese scoop website Best Car Web has been on top of the GR86 subject for the past month. Apparently, their local dealers have stopped taking orders for the car and it’s been rumored it will be discontinued completely after 2023. Because of parts shortages, Toyota isn’t sure how many orders it can fulfill at the moment.
The shocking new development came today when they released a story claiming a second GR86 generation has been approved. It will be ready in 2025 and promises to be way faster.
300 HP from 1.6-liter turbo and hybrid system
The next GR86 is in the early stages, and the basic framework has been approved. A chassis test mule has been put together and “full-scale testing is about to begin.”
While the two generations we’ve had thus far featured Subaru 4-cylinder boxer engines, the new model will feature a 3-cylinder 1.6-liter borrowed from the GR Yaris. It’s the same one as the GR Corolla, only it makes a little bit less power (261 hp).
However, in this application, the motor will be mounted longitudinally and will be paired with the latest hybrid system from the Crown 2.4L turbo motor.
What about the gearbox?
The new combination of 1.6 turbo and e-motor is said to make at least 300 hp, if not as much as 330 hp. It’s said that engineers are currently testing with the current GR86’s gearbox but it apparently can’t handle the load. As a reminder, this cog-swapper is made by Aisin, itself owned by Toyota.
We know that Aisin is developing next-gen gearboxes, even ones for EVs. But at this early stage, the development team may not know how to solve the gearbox issue. Best Car Web says they should offer a 3-pedal manual because it’s essential to the identity of the car, but we’re not so sure.
A lot of the time, having a manual gearbox seems to be a problem on the safety front. Subaru loves having a Top Safety Pick+ rating on all its cars, but it took until 202 for the BRZ to gain EyeSight. In addition, it’s pretty rare to have a full hybrid (not a mild hybrid) with a manual, especially on a sports car. Who remembers the Honda CR-Z?
Is there a Subaru version as well? Probably not
We’re thankful to Subaru because, without their engineering and boxer engines, there would be no GT/GR sports coupe. However, this new model may be developed by Toyota alone.
Apparently, the new 2025 GR86 will not use the existing platform. Instead, they plan to shorten the wheelbase of the Lexus IS to make this new RWD sports car.
The IS got revisions in 2020, but it’s actually an old architecture. Most new Lexus models are switching to the TNGA (GA-L) architecture but this doesn’t work on anything below the D-segment and thus isn’t viable for the sports car.
New chassis, no Subaru partnership, hybrid AND turbocharged engine, possibly no manual—that doesn’t sound like the cheap GR86 we know. But it could be worse.
Current GR86 production end
The situation with the GR86 is already pretty complicated. The previous generation had a pretty long life, having been in production for 9 steady years, from 2012, through the Scion era, and a facelift. However, in 2021, we learned that the GR86 production would only last two years, at least for some markets.
Shocking, I know! Toyota UK had something interesting to say about the European market: “Some people are under the misunderstanding that its lifespan is being curtailed by stricter emissions regulations. In 2024, new European safety protocols will come into force, and vehicles that do not comply with these General Safety Regulation 2 standards will not be allowed to be sold.”
Currently, the news from Japan is that GR86 production will be halted after June 2023. Subaru can’t afford to make its low-volume BRZ comply with regulations and we suspect it could be permanently discontinued because it just doesn’t match the rest of the model lineup.