Subaru's new BRZ is now out in the open, but Toyota has yet to even preview its 86 twin, let alone reveal it. For now, we've had a punt at how it might look.
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With Subaru's new BRZ revealed last week to a generally favourable response, fans are now waiting on signs from Toyota that the new 86 coupe is near.

In their first generation, both cars were unveiled within days of each other, ahead of a 2011 Tokyo motor show debut. (Remember motor shows?)

Of course, those big reveals followed years of rumours, reports and sleek show cars. This time around, both brands have skipped the concept stage, leaving us with a series of prototypes caught on the open road before last week's BRZ debut.

As for what we can expect from the 86, a continuation of the existing formula is likely: minor cosmetic differences and a handful of equipment and trim variations, over the top of an otherwise identical car – as covered in our 2017 86 v BRZ comparison.


Up front

Above: the official BRZ design shown in silver, and our speculative rendering in red.

On the styling front, we have very little to go off, but – as before – it's likely we can expect at least a unique bumper design up front.

For our renderings here, crafted by Theophilus Chin, we've gone with a front bumper design that shares some themes with the new GR Yaris hot hatch.

There's a taller main grille opening, with no wide-mouthed catfish smiles to be seen anywhere. This space is flanked by large intakes that house a pair of simple rectangular fog lights.

A more distinct lip runs along the bottom edge of the front bumper in our rendering above, too.


Out back

At the rear, the 86's GR provenance could – we hope – see it given a meaner bum.

Now, quad pipes may not be likely for a relatively low-powered car missing those turbos we've all been crying out for, but you can't blame us for wanting to see how that'd look – and you never know, Gazoo Racing might roll out a turbocharged hero model somewhere down the road.

At the very least, we'll be hoping for a more interesting bumper insert with all the usual real and fake ducts mixed in, along with a subtle diffuser along the lower section.

Lastly, we've thrown in some carbon-fibre skirts along the side to match the front and rear.

Oh, and the cabin: We'd expect near-identical interior designs, albeit with Toyota's infotainment in the centre console. We're hoping for the GR Yaris's steering wheel to replace the all-too-familiar tiller featured in the BRZ, but only time will tell.

Above: the new BRZ's dash (top) and the new GR Yaris hot hatch's dash (bottom).


What can we expect under the skin?

Away from styling, the new 86 and BRZ cars are likely to be set apart in small but key ways, through their most easily tuneable and tweakable elements. That means suspension, braking, rubber and the like.

In what is expected to be a GR-badged form, the 86 might this time benefit from even more significant enhancements – although these are again likely to focus more on handling and response than any power boosts.

In BRZ form, the new sports coupe is powered by Subaru's naturally-aspirated FA24 petrol four-cylinder 'boxer' engine, delivering 170kW and 249Nm. Compared to the outgoing models' 2.0-litre mill, those figures mark an increase of 18kW and 37Nm respectively.

Six-speed manual and torque-converter automatic transmissions will still be offered, with power sent – of course – to the rear wheels.

The new BRZ's chassis – and likely also that of the 86 – benefits from a 50 per cent increase in torsional stiffness, and 60 per cent greater front lateral bending rigidity, thanks to a range of structural tweaks including "inner frame construction" and new adhesives.

Aluminium has been used in the roof, front guards and bonnet to balance out the wight penalty associated with the larger 2.4-litre engine, while the aforementioned structural upgrades promise to contribute to "optimised weight layout and lower centre of gravity".

Whether Toyota's GR arm goes much further with its work on the 86, remains to be seen.

Watch for more on Toyota's new affordable coupe to come in the weeks and months ahead.


Below: remember the FT-86 concept that started it all in 2009?

FT-86 stories can be found here.

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