Last week, we got our first look at the facelifted 2016 Toyota GT86 sports coupe. This weekend, we learned that this isn’t the only piece of GT86/FR-S related news Toyota’s been hiding… Apparently, Toyota is currently developing a compact sports car that would slot below their joint venture coupe.
The news comes from Australian automotive blog Motoring, who apparently first heard the news from “a source close to Toyota”. They say that the new compact sports car will be a two-door rear-wheel-drive coupe that will have a starting price of about $20,000. It will run on a 132 horsepower 1.5L petrol engine and come in under 1,000 kg.
Motoring also says that the car will compete with the new Mazda MX-5, but let’s be real… Given Toyota and Mazda’s recently expanded partnership, we all know that this is going to be a Miata-based vehicle. In fact, we’d say there’s a decent chance it will be built on the same platform and use a SkyActiv-inspired engine too. The rumor right now is that the engine will be a modified direct-injection version of the 1.5L four-cylinder Toyota uses in some international Corolla models (2NR-FKE), but we’re not convinced.
Even if the new sub-GT86 coupe is largely built on Mazda components, the car will still be inspired by an old Toyota model. Toyota’s source said, “The new coupe’s exterior look was inspired by the Toyota Sports 800 (pictured above) of 1965, but reinterpreted for the 21st Century.” The source also said that the new coupe is codenamed 69DZ, if that tells you anything. Aesthetically, it’ll be based on the Toyota 86 Cb Concept from the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (below).
The new baby coupe will serve as an entry-level offer to Toyota sports car lineup. Other rumors say that Toyota plans to develop another larger coupe that will slot above the GT86/FR-S, which would give them three solid sports car offers. As the cheapest of the bunch, the 69DZ will have a heavy emphasis on fun, agile driving, and not as much on interior quality. We hope that Toyota opts for a simple two-seat coupe for the superior cabin space, but empirical evidence points to a cramped 2+2 seating arrangement.
That being said, Toyota is taking extreme measures to make sure the mini-86 kicks butt on the road… Apparently they’ve enlisted the help of World Rally Championship racer Tommi Makinen to test and develop the new sports coupe. With that kind of real on-track experience behind the project, we sincerely hope that this new sports car will go from prototype to production before the end of the year. It’s certainly possible; Motoring’s source said, “Designers have a final prototype that could very well go into production as is.”
Here’s to hoping!