Development for a second-gen Toyota 86 is underway and the brand’s traditional hybrid system is being ruled out as a powertrain option.
Speaking to MOTOR via a translator at the Festival of 86 event held in Canberra this week, Toyota 86 chief engineer Tetsuya Tada claims there are a few surprises in store for the second iteration of the compact rear-drive coupe.
“We have started planning the next generation 86 (but to) try to provide something beyond people’s expectation is not easy,” begins Tada-san.
“It will definitely be above the fans’ expectation, because if you supply what all the fans really want, nobody gets really surprised or impressed, so wait and see, we provide something that will be really surprise.”
Tada-san has previously been on-record saying that simply turbocharging the 86 would be the “easy answer” and he laughs when reminded of that quote. But what about hybrid power, given that Toyota is famous for combining petrol and electricity in many of its models?
“Not necessarily we would be saying hybrid as such, hybrid could be a part of the answer but if (we) provide just a normal hybrid it make no-one surprise,” he replies.
However the chief engineer’s eyes light up following the suggestion that an electric motor could be used as ‘boost’ for an internal combustion engine.
“Ohhh, yes, yes,” he responds, only to then put a dampener on the theory that type of powertrain could arrive in the next 86.
“It’s a good idea but it is not surprising as (we) want to make. The whole package as a new generation 86 … want to make everyone go wow, and beyond expectations.”
Speaking generally about next generation cars, Tada-san said he expects “there is a big weight loss to the body itself will done”. He explains that if the current 86 were smaller it would not have substantially reduced its 1257kg kerb weight, but that may change for the next model.
“The (current) 86 maybe can go slightly smaller but it wouldn’t have much of a less weight or make it less cost, so at the time when developed 86 like that, that was the best balance between cost and (practicality of) usage.
“Currently because technology has advanced more … maybe if you reconsider same good balance we might be able to make it smaller.”
And what about hitting the magic one-tonne figure, to match the current Mazda MX-5?
“I will try to do my best,” he responds with a shy grin.
With the first facelift of the Toyota 86 set to launch locally late this year, a next generation model is likely still three or four years away. The big-T brand is attempting to amortise its costs for the current generation, which relative to its other models has not been a huge seller.
Tada-san adds that maintaining a good business case is essential to continuing the 86 into future generations, something he believes Toyota must do.
“Continuation is very something, because in the past Toyota make so many sports car … and then when the profit goes down they already finished every single time and didn’t continue,” he tells, noting that the current 86 is returning a profit for the brand.
“Even the president of Toyota is not considering making a huge profit throughout the 86 but if the profit disappear totally it is very hard as part of the company policy to making the same style, so as soon as they are making even a little bit profit (we) can continue.”