An enthusiast blog claims to have spotted a test vehicle in traffic – and that it did not sound like it had turbo power.
It is unclear if this means the Toyota and Subaru sports car twins will have a choice of turbo and non-turbo power, or if all of this is an elaborate hoax.
What's clear in the photos is that this is a current model Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ. Oddly, however, the badges are covered and the vehicle is wearing "manufacturer" plates, which in the US indicates it could be a test vehicle.
Earlier reports have claimed the next-generation sports car twins will likely be powered by a 2.4-litre FA24 boxer engine (shared with the 2021 Subaru Outback), however there has been much debate over whether the vehicles will be turbocharged or naturally aspirated.
For now, both Toyota and Subaru remain tight-lipped about future engine plans and nothing has yet been confirmed.
A recent post on the popular GR86 blog claims to have the answer.
User jkim85 posted a photo of a current-generation car in Nevada, which he described as a “powertrain mule” undergoing hot weather testing. He said the car left the traffic lights under full throttle, and "definitely" did not sound turbocharged.
Rear-mounted temperature sensors, taped over badging, and a Michigan registered numberplate were provided as evidence this was a prototype vehicle.
CarAdvice understands the location where the car was spotted is often used by manufacturers for hot weather testing.
Above: Rendering of the 2021 Toyota 86
In January, CarAdvice reported that the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ would likely be turbocharged, citing a report out of Japan.
Four months later a new report from the US suggested non-turbo power was more likely.
A spokesperson for Subaru Australia told CarAdvice the brand’s Japanese headquarters had “yet to confirm any details of next generation BRZ, including powertrain.”
A spokesperson for Toyota Australia did not comment when approached by CarAdvice.
The current-generation vehicle is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre boxer engine producing 152kW and 212Nm. The modest power output has been a long-standing criticism of the current model, despite its popularity with enthusiasts.
The clearest images yet of the new prototype model were published earlier this month by CarAdvice can be seen in this link.