Despite the Toyota GR86 being in production for only one year, the rumor mill is already discussing a next-generation model that would bow in 2025 at the earliest, featuring a turbocharged hybrid powertrain. And when we came across this independent rendering portraying the GR86 with the LED front accent lights of the 2023 Prius, our minds immediately raced to the said reports.
It may seem odd to even consider such a short life cycle for the GR86, but there are two important points to consider here. For starters, reports from Japan talk about the motivation for Toyota to release a GR86 replacement so soon involving upcoming fuel efficiency standards in Japan, which demand a fuel economy increase of about one third by 2030.
Japanese magazine Best Car, which is known for its accurate scoops, released a story last month that covered the supposed GR86 successor. This states that Toyota has already kicked off development for the sports car by mixing a hybridized version of the turbocharged three-cylinder engine powering the GR Yaris and GR Corolla with a custom version of the chassis serving the Lexus IS sedan since 2013.
Theoretically, the carmaker could also add the electrically-assisted turbocharged three-cylinder engine to the current GR86 chassis. And Australia’s Drive, which covered the said Best Car scoop last month, had discussed a similar topic with Toyota GR86 chief engineer Yasunori Suezawa back in September.
Yasunori-san told the publication the automaker had been “experimenting” with putting the GR Yaris engine into the GR86 platform. This resulted in prototypes that were fielded in the Japanese Super Taikyu Series, which had birthed the GR Yaris and GR Corolla. And while no production decision had been reached, the team handling the project determined that cutting the displacement of the turbo-three from 1.6 to 1.4L would shave 30 kg.
Weight is a major concern here, not just because of the overall scale footprint, but also regarding the distribution, since the purity of the GR86’s RWD handling is one of its main selling points.
It looks like the GR86 will exit the European market in the summer of 2024
As far as Europe is concerned, the GR86 is expected to leave this market in July 2024. The reports discussing this talk about the sports car’s inability to accommodate traffic sign recognition cameras that would be used with speed limiters, a feature that will become mandatory for new cars sold on the Old Continent.
However, automakers sometimes prefer to skip such updates due to the mix between the arguably limited sales and the ever-stricter emission regulations. For instance, these were the reasons cited by Nissan for not offering the all-new 2023 Z on the Old Continent at all.
Returning to the short lifespan of the GR86, we have to keep in mind this wasn’t an all-new development. Instead, the exterior and interior are fresh and so is the larger 2.4L Subaru boxer engine, but the chassis is an updated version of the one the GT86 introduced back in 2012.
And while Subaru has offered the BRZ sister car of the Toyota model ever since, it’s not clear how these potential changes could affect its 2+2 compact coupe.
Jon Sibal has worked on SEMA projects based on Toyotas
Getting back to the rendering sitting before us, this comes from digital artist Jon Sibal. The enthusiast is an automotive design consultant that has designed multiple body kits and liveries. And those of you following SEMA projects may already be familiar with his work, with a recent example including the StreetHunter widebody (and non-widebody) kits for the Toyota GR86 and second-gen Subaru BRZ.
For this stunning image, Jon went back to the time attack CGI redesign he had done for the GR86, which we have showcased, Initial D anime livery included. The artist added the LED wraparound accent lights of the fresh 2023 Prius, albeit keeping things uber-sleek by skipping the LED headlights of the fifth-gen Prius.
And, given how sporty the 2023 Prius looks, even before receiving kits from TRD or in-house tuner Modellista, this digital GR86 revamp seems more natural than one might expect.
Besides, while the GR86 can hit 60 mph in 5.4s, the 2023 Prius Prime (the US name for the 220 hp plug-in hybrid version) can cover the sprint in an also-impressive 6.6s, which is just 0.2s shy of what the retired GT86/first-gen BRZ can do.