Toyota's future sports cars

Another two models are set to join the icon-reviving 86 in showrooms

Toyota's future sports car line-up is expected to swell to three models after the successful launch of the 86 coupe.

FT-HS concept points to possible Supra successor.

One of them will be positioned over the 86 and is most likely to revive the glory days of the Supra, while the other would sit below the 86. The sportscar strategy was revealed by Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer of the 86, during an interview with the Thai media in Germany last week.

"We are open to collaborations," says Tada, reflecting on the 86, which was jointly developed with the Subaru BRZ. "We are seeking the best solutions for our three-model strategy which will see the 86 sitting in the middle."

Although Tada hasn't specifically revealed the partner, the "collaboration" could have been referring to a recent cooperation programme Toyota announced earlier this year.

After inking a deal to swap diesel and electrified power trains with BMW, Toyota is said to be looking into co-developing a new sports car with the premium German brand.

The tie-up could see BMW supplying a rear-wheel-drive platform to the modern-day successor to the Supra, while hybrid know-how could come from Japan's largest car maker.

Tada concedes that today's petrol-electric hybrid systems used in various applications of both Toyota and its upscale brand Lexus isn't suitable for sporty cars.

"We are now in the development stage [of making a hybrid suitable for sporty cars]," he says.

86 gets racy exterior from TRD.

BMW has earlier announced that it intends to sell a new sports car with hybrid technology under the i8 sub-brand (the i3 will be a five-door city car).

Toyota's first intention of building a Supra successor was showcased in the FT-HS concept shown in Detroit five years ago. It could go into direct contention with the Nissan 370Z Fairlady.

Tada fell short on the details of the new entry-level model slotting beneath the 86.

One possible link could be Lotus, a maker of a compact mid-engine sports car that utilises a four-cylinder 1.8-litre petrol engine from Toyota.

Toyota once made the MR-S (MR-2) mid-engine two-seat roadster and could revive it by linking it to the Elise from Lotus, a troubled sports car maker now seeking new financing for its future models.

But Tada stresses that the baby sports car's concept will similar to the 86 in the sense that Toyota will be open-minded with customer requirements.

The 86 only comes with a naturally aspirated engine in 200hp guise. Toyota is now letting the Japanese after-market sector tune the 86's flat-four 2.0-litre engine in various styles.

Such a move would allow Toyota to assess whether 86 customers would prefer turbocharging or supercharging forced induction if they want more performance.

Tada believes that turbo tech has a disadvantage in terms of engine response and prefers the supercharging concept for its more instantaneous feel.

Bottom: Modernday replacement for MR-S is being mooted.

About the author

Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor