A Turbocharged Toyota 86 Definitely Isn’t Happening

The Toyobaru's chief engineer says doing a proper, factory turbo would require an entirely new chassis.

By far, the biggest criticism leveled at the Toyota 86 (and its Subaru BRZ platform-sibling) has been its supposed lack of power. Ever since its initial release five years ago, fans have been screaming for Toyota to give its back-to-basics, rear-drive sports coupe more grunt, usually in the form of forced induction. Well, it looks like that crowd can go ahead and save their breath ’cause a turbocharged 86 from the factory just isn’t happening.

Tetsuya Tada, the Toyota chief engineer responsible for both the 86 and upcoming Supra, recently spoke to CarAdvice, explaining that fitting a proper turbo to the current-generation, 205-horsepower 86 without compromising balance would require an entirely new chassis. Simply slapping a snail under the hood would spoil the car’s nimble nature, according to the Toyota engineer.

“One characteristic of the 86 is that in terms of the front balance, it’s slightly front loaded so it makes the handling more fast and agile,” Tada-san told CarAdvice. “So if we were to come up with a turbo version, we would have to go change the weight balance between the front and the rear. That means we have to come up with a completely new platform, so it’s not about just changing or slight modification in the engine parts.”

As for the mob of enthusiasts that have yearned for a more potent version of Toyota’s sports car, Tada-san hears you loud and clear but unless he’s willing to ship a dynamically compromised 86 for the sake of appeasing a million and one internet commenters, his hands are essentially tied.

“When we launched 86, I got literally millions of questions from around the world of ‘When would you be launching the turbo version?’ I believe that often times I answered that there won’t be a turbo version, and there were some articles in the media that Mr. Tada doesn’t like a turbo. That’s not really true,” he told the Australian publication. “I do like turbos; however, if we come up with a turbo version of the 86 and boost up the power, that would result in the necessity of changing the basic configuration completely to come up with a car that I would be satisfied with.”

Hopefully, the next-generation 86 (God willing that happens) will sit on a platform that’s a little more power-friendly. We’ve reached out to Toyota for further comment and will update this story when we hear back. 

UPDATE [03/13/2018]: In an email to The Drive, a Toyota spokesperson said that they “do not have anything else to add to Tada-san’s comment.” A trip to the aftermarket it is, then.