As the camouflage drops on prototype versions, we take a look behind the wrap at what to expect from the Toyota-Subaru siblings.
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UPDATE: We couldn't stop ourselves, so enjoy a quick-n-dirty render that sees Theo's 2021 Toyota GR86 rendered on Rays TE37 wheels. Jump to the bottom of the story for a look!


The second-generation Toyota 86 has lately been stepping out in revealing camouflage, with the latest round of spy photos offering plenty of detail, but there’s still much to be revealed.

Plenty of secrecy surrounds chassis and powertrain details, still, but the external details are now much more obvious thanks to a recent development mule spied undergoing evaluation.

For an even more revealing look at what lies beneath the swirling wrap, we’ve set artist Theophilus Chin to work, to virtually peel back the detail-obscuring camo.

From the latest round of photos of the Toyota-Subaru joint sports car undergoing benchmarking alongside a Ford Mustang, new design details are pretty obvious.

Chief among the identifiable changes are a cleaner front end design. Based on the centre intake shape and the detailing of the smaller side vents, we can see that the new Toyota 86 will take on elements of the Gazoo Racing design language already used on other Toyota models internationally.

From this detail it appears likely the GT86 nomenclature used overseas will be swapped out for GR86 naming on the new model. In Australia, where the simpler ‘86’ name is currently used, GR is likely to be added officially, as it is for the GR Supra – though whether the new prefix is adopted by enthusiasts remains to be seen.

The slender bifurcated inlets at each side of the front bumper and radiused corners of the central intake are variations of the themes already in use on the Japanese-market C-HR GR Sport small SUV and Copen GR Sport kei roadster.

Locally that new GR face should first feature late in 2020 on the Toyota GR Yaris, which provides a direct link to Toyota’s WRC racing efforts and owes very little to the mainstream Yaris hatch that’s just launched in Australia. A unique engine, all-wheel drive system and three-door bodywork all distance the GR version from the regular hatch it shares its name with.

Toyota also appears to have cribbed a visual cue from the Lexus range, removing the horizontal guard vent from behind the front wheel and replacing it with a larger upright opening that runs diagonally through the guard surface ahead of the front doors.

Like the RC F coupe, the vent on the 86 creates a body line that flows into the sill panel, adding visual weight to the small coupe for a more planted stance.

Despite looking like carry-over items, the doors and glasshouse appear to have had minor tweaks as well, though it’s here the new 86 creates its strongest visual links with the outgoing model.

The GR86’s rear also gets a more modern treatment than the current model, with new C-shaped tail lights, again echoing those used on the GR Yaris. The lights are linked by a thin trim strip spanning the boot, with a Supra-style integrated spoiler crowning the boot.

Detail changes like a new rear valance with a slimmer middle section, and a number plate that has been switched from the boot lid to the bumper, also feature.

Subaru BRZ STI: Turbo coupe imagined

Of course. Toyota won't be alone in unveiling the new GR86, with Subaru also set to produce its own BRZ version alongside.

Although the current-generation car has only seen ‘tuned by STI’ versions, rather than fully-fledged performance upgrades, Chin’s vision for the next BRZ imagines how it could look with a proper STI makeover.

As expected for the production model, the 2021 BRZ will share its sheet metal with the Toyota version, and most of the clip-on parts at the rear (like lights and bumpers) will also be twinned.

This STI version goes a little more wild, though, housing Subaru’s iconic scooped bonnet and unmissable high-rise rear wing.

Which leads us nicely to the topic of powertrains. There’s no firm details to report yet, although initial speculation suggests the current FA20 2.0-litre flat-four engine will be retired.

In its place, a larger 2.4-litre FA24 should take residence under the bonnet, but speculation is split between a naturally-aspirated version (in keeping with the original car’s ethos) or a turbo version, which would address the calls of enthusiasts for more power, but also push the cheaper 86 closer to Toyota’s more expensive Supra.

Right now, the most powerful 86 engine is rated at 152kW and 212Nm. An atmo FA24 could push that to 162kW and 240Nm, but with a turbo those outputs could be as high as 194kW and 375Nm – perfect for a fully-fledged STI or GRMN version, perhaps.

Expect Subaru and Toyota to closely match their reveal timing. At this stage it is anticipated to be late in 2020, or early 2021 before going on sale around the middle of next year.

How will it look with a quick drop onto the popular Rays TE37 wheel design?

After all, you know plenty of buyers are going to do it.


What changes would you like to see from the new 86 and BRZ twins? Tell us in the comments below.


BELOW: The spied new GR86


BELOW: The current 86 and BRZ