Sports cars don't follow the usual life cycle as they tend to be on sale longer than the average. Take for example the first GR86, which Toyota produced from January 2012 until March 2021. However, its successor might have a much shorter life cycle if we were to rely on a new report published by Autocar. The British magazine claims a replacement could arrive as early as 2025, which would mean a four-year shelf life for the current second-gen car.
Why? Two reasons. Toyota needs to update the rear-wheel-drive sports coupe to meet increasingly stringent emissions regulations at home in Japan. Autocar has it on good authority the automotive giant won't be able to sell the second-gen GR86 in the Land of the Rising Sun in a couple of years. The publication believes a third-gen model will be made more fuel efficient by adopting a hybrid setup based around the turbocharged three-cylinder engine of the GR Yaris hot hatchback.
As for the other reason, the windscreen size of the GR86 on sale today is apparently incompatible with future safety systems that will become mandatory in Europe. Specifically, cars sold in the EU will have to incorporate traffic light recognition cameras as early as 2024. The electrified setup would also be beneficial to the Euro-spec GR86 considering the Euro 7 standard is slated to come into effect in 2025.
On the subject of tougher emissions regulations, the only way to keep sports cars alive is by electrifying them. For this reason, Mazda has said the next-generation MX-5 – the GR86/BRZ's main rival – will have a hybrid setup of some sort when it debuts in the coming years. In virtually all cases, electrification comes along with a weight penalty but it's better to have heavier cars than not have them at all, right?
Toyota Sports EV
In late 2021, Toyota revealed an interesting concept of a fully electric sports car that seemed to be smaller the GR86, thus fuelling rumours of an MR2 revival. Known officially as the "Sports EV," the sleek two-seater had Gazoo Racing branding but technical specifications were never disclosed. A few months ago, Toyota revealed it's testing a GR electric sports car with a manual gearbox and fake ICE noises.