The man behind the Toyota 86 reckons he has been asked about a turbo version of the compact coupe on more than a million occasions.
Lauded for its affordability, balance and responsiveness, the 86 is often criticised over a lack of punch, particularly compared to similarly-priced hot hatches featuring forced induction.
Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer for Toyota’s 86 and the upcoming Supra, says the latter model should quench the desires of supporters looking for more grunt from their two-door sports car.
Set to feature a turbocharged six-cylinder engine borrowed from BMW, the Supra will be both smaller than the 86 and hugely more powerful, packing around 100kW more than Toyota’s entry-level coupe.
“Obviously we are receiving many requests for different variants or versions of GT86 because it's been five years since we launched that,” Tada says.
“In that sense the Supra answers partially, or actually fully, the various requests we’ve received since the launch of GT86… I think we’ve covered all those requests through Supra.”
Tada-san says he has been misunderstood by elements of the media when discussing the future of Toyota’s performance cars.
“When we launched GT86 I got literally millions of questions of the same type asking when you will be launching the turbo version,” he said.
“Often times I answered that there would not be a turbo version. Often times there would be articles in the media saying Mr Tada does not like a turbo.
“That's not really true, I do like a turbo.
“[But] if we come up with a turbo version of 86 and boost up the power that would result in the basic necessity of changing the configuration completely.”
The sports car expert tuned the 86 (and its Subaru BRZ cousin) with a particular ethos in mind - delicate handling made possible by light weight, narrow tyres, aggressive chassis settings and relatively lightweight components.
Dropping more than 200kW of turbocharged power into the coupe might be like pouring barbecue sauce over sashimi - a clash of tastes unlikely to satisfy anyone.
Tada says a turbocharged Toyota 86 would force Toyota “to come up with a completely new platform”.
“It’s not just about changing or slight modification of engine parts,” he said.
Having invested significant resources in the 86, it seems unlikely Toyota would throw it all away after a single generation and pour an enormous amount of money into a beefed-up, turbocharged platform - particularly as it will soon sell a boosted Supra for power-hungry enthusiasts.
The Japanese engineer says Toyota has not settled on a decision surrounding the 86’s future.
“We are thinking and discussing about the possibility of coming up with a new version of GT86, however it is not decided yet,” he says.
“We will be launching new Supra in the near future.
“And once the launch happens, we believe we will get further requests and further voices from different people around the world for further requests in terms of sports cars, and I think when we launch GT86 in the future… we can respond to these requests and voices in that version.”
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