Missing Toyota 86 Delayed as Part of a Plan to Break Away From the Subaru BRZ

As the Subaru BRZ broke cover last year, everyone assumed the Toyota 86 would arrive closely behind it. However, several months later, Toyota’s version of this affordable sports car remains missing. Thankfully a new report out of Japan indicates that this delay is intentional.

According to Best Car reported by Autoblog, Toyota President Akio Toyoda requested the delay to provide extra time to differentiate the two cars. The first time around, both variations of this platform were mechanically identical. However, this new report indicates that the unreleased variant will carry some major changes.

Why hasn’t the Toyota 86 joined the Subaru BRZ?

An image of a Subaru BRZ out on track.
Subaru BRZ | Subaru

Since Toyoda wants the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 to be significantly different, there is some added development time. As a refresher, Subaru’s version features a naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four engine developing 228 hp. All of that available power goes to the rear wheels via an automatic or manual transmission. The best part is that this sporty machine weighs less than 2,900 lb.

Since the Toyota 86 will share these main basic components, the Japanese carmaker has reportedly decided to take extra time to dial in the details. This includes a redesigned aesthetic that will look more like Toyota’s other products.

While Roadshow already uncovered patents showing the 86’s front end registered with the Australian Government, it is unclear if this newest delay will alter the car’s aesthetic. If the development takes considerable time to tweak the car’s driving dynamics, aesthetics are likely not the only major changes.

How will this delayed variant be different?

An image of a Subaru BRZ out on track.
Subaru BRZ | Subaru

RELATED: The 2022 Subaru BRZ Is Here but Where Is the Toyota 86?

While the Subaru BRZ will share many of its main components with the Toyota 86, Best Car reports some major differences. The bulk of these surrounds the powertrain. While the new 86 will utilize the same flat-four engine, engineers are reportedly working on its tuning. Additionally, Best Car reports that Toyoda himself wants the 86 to be slightly faster than the BRZ.

The second major change in the pursuit of speed comes from the Toyota 86’s transmission. According to Best Car, the Japanese carmaker is reportedly working on updated gearing for both the manual and automatic transmissions. While this might slightly reduce the car’s top speed, it might give us greater acceleration.

In terms of changes we won’t see, Best Car reports that the Toyota 86 won’t lose a considerable amount of weight or gain a turbocharger. The rest of this car’s development appears to be focused on driving dynamics. As a result, this delays its unveiling for quite some time.

When will Toyota unveil the 86?

An image of a Subaru BRZ out on track.
Subaru BRZ | Subaru

Since the Subaru BRZ broke cover in 2020, we expected to see the Toyota 86 sometime in early 2021. However, if Best Car is correct, we’ll have to wait quite sometime before seeing it. That’s because its planned release date is set to be some time in 2022 as a 2023 model year.

At this point, it is worth noting that Toyota has not confirmed these rumors. However, given its overarching silence regarding the model’s arrival, they might be on the nose.