The global chief engineer responsible for the Toyota 86 says the model’s future is bright, with enough ideas and concepts under development to keep existing fans interested and potentially attract new fans to the already popular model. Speaking through an interpreter, Tetsuya Tada said, “The thing I’m excited about, is that up until a few years ago, Toyota was proud of being the number one producer of cars, but all the criticism was saying, ‘They make a lot of cars but it’s all boring'”.
“So, since the Toyota 86 has been produced, we wanted to make a car with passion and not for just targeting a number or profit. And then since then, people have been becoming more passionate and putting more effort into making better quality cars,” Tada said. “And then 86 changed the trend of the thinking of the old workers in Toyota. Now they put more passion into making a car that they really want to produce. So it’s not perfect yet, but in the future I’m wishing that all the cars we produce at Toyota will be full of passion. These are the things I’m aiming for and am excited about.”
Since it was launched in 2012, the Toyota 86 has been powered by the same Subaru-sourced 2.0Lnaturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine – and it has often been criticised for its seemingly tame outputs of 147kW (197hp) of power and 205Nm (151lb-ft) of torque. Despite this, Toyota has remained resolute in not offering a turbocharged engine in the 86, and Tada offered clarification on their position. “Please don’t misunderstand me, because I don’t really have anything against using a turbocharger – turbo is really good,” he said. “But the only problem is, if you put a turbocharger into the 86, it comes at the cost of more weight. And a heavier car is not as much fun as a lighter car. The current 86 does not match well with a turbocharger because of the package size. But if you change the package itself, it works, and then the added weight becomes less of a concern.”
Tada also mentioned that Toyota is still looking at the viability of offering a convertible version of the 86, which they first unveiled as the FT-86 Open concept at the 2013 Geneva motor show. “I’ve never given up on producing the convertible 86 – someday, somehow,” he said.