It’s no exaggeration to say the 86, Australia’s top-selling sports car, has single-handedly succeeded in injecting some sparkle into Toyota’s lacklustre line-up.
And, according to a source close to Toyota, there’s plenty more where that came from.
That’s right folks, the 86 family is about to grow — and in a big way. When the 86 landed in showrooms last year, we were told of other iterations including a soft-top, a sedan and a shooting brake (sports wagon). Chief engineer Tetsuya Tada even mentioned as much in his blog.
Well, although the 86 convertible concept has apparently stalled, our insider now tells us the green light has been given for an 86-based sedan.
The soft-top 86 roadster concept was unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March, but there is still no word from Toyota — or our insider, for that matter — as to when we might see that car on the road.
What we can tell you is that an 86-based sedan, similar to the one rendered here by Japan’s Holiday Auto magazine, is on the way and may even beat the soft-top into showrooms.
According to our source, the new sports sedan will target 40-something buyers who honed their driving skills in cars like the rear-wheel drive Corolla AE86, Nissan Silvia (180SX and 200SX), Mazda RX-8 or Honda S2000.
Employing a wheelbase that’s 100mm longer than that of the current 86, the new sedan will feature what Toyota calls a “keen-look” grille design that appears to replicate the shape of a Japanese ‘katana’ Samurai sword.
In addition to the base model’s Subaru-sourced 147kW 2.0-litre boxer powertrain, the as-yet-unnamed 86 sedan will also offer a next-generation hybrid system.
Strategically differentiated from the Toyota’s current Hybrid Synergy Drive system, the new ‘Hybrid R’ sports hybrid system will incorporate a one-motor parallel drive set-up that generates up to 200kW while achieving 10-15 per cent better fuel economy.
While Hybrid R details are still sketchy, our insider suggests the new system – as revealed in the 300kW Yaris Hybrid-R concept at Frankfurt — will employ F1-style KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology that can recover the car’s kinetic energy under braking.
While we will not see this concept at next month’s Tokyo motor show, we hear strong rumours that it will make an appearance at next year’s Geneva show.
Expect to see Toyota’s all-new rear-drive compact sports sedan hit showrooms from late 2015 through to early 2016, priced not far from the sub-$30K 86.
Unfortunately, our sources tell us we won’t get a look at the jointly developed Toyota-BMW sports car at the Tokyo show either, with the Geneva show in March 2014 now looking more likely.
* Imaginative/speculative render only *
I hope they come to their senses and just go with Light RWD Sedan… don’t even bother with hybrid stuff!