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Toyota GT86 turbo, convertible, sedan variants back on the table

Fri, 02 May 2014

Okay Toyota, make up your mind. Figure it out. Quit playing games with our heart. Either build a bunch of variations of the excellent GT86 (also known as the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ) or don't. At this point, we're just tired of the back and forth. After no shortage of denials, an Australian website is claiming that Toyota is reconsidering convertible, four-door, turbocharged and all-wheel-drive hybrid variants of the GT86. Kindly pass all the salt.

It's not that we don't want to believe the Aussies; we do. But when the story lists the same "sources in Japan" as a lot of the other denials and confirmations about GT86/BRZ/FR-S variants, well, there's a certain sense of the "Boy That Cried Wolf," here. Ignoring all that, then, what does claim to know?

Sources claim the GT86 Convertible will arrive in October 2014, while the turbocharged and hybrid sedans are slated for 2016.

Well, the GT86 sedan will be stretched by just a shade over 20 inches. It's unclear if this is in reference to the wheelbase or the car's overall length. It will also be 3.9 inches taller, while retaining the coupe's width.

Two engines will be on offer for this hypothetical four-door. The range-topping model will get a Subaru-sourced, 2.5-liter, turbocharged flat-four, with 295 horsepower. That sounds a lot like the WRX STI's engine. The boxer mill will be tied to an eight-speed automatic – it's not mentioned if a manual will be available. The same engine will make its way to the GT86 Coupe.

The other engine is a hybrid – likely a Toyota hybrid system that's been made to play nice with the flat-four in the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid. In-wheel electric motors will deliver drive power to the front wheels, giving the GT86 Sedan all-wheel drive. Both models will arrive in 2016, although the turbo will precede the hybrid by a few months.

Assuming the prices listed are in Australian dollars, the GT86 Hybrid Sedan will start at an eye-watering $46,175, while the turbocharged four-door will $36,940, according to today's exchange rates. Now, the GT86 Coupe is already priced a few thousand US dollars higher in Australia, so if these alleged variants were to make it across the Pacific, we could expect slightly lower prices. Still, we imagine any $40,000-plus FR-S would be a tough sell.

As for the convertible, Motoring is claiming it'll arrive in October of this year, and will retain the coupe's 2.0-liter, flat-four engine, despite a 66-pound weight penalty, thanks to its electric canvas roof. This doesn't address Subaru's apparent refusal to do a convertible BRZ.

As we said, all of this should be taken with many, many grains of salt. We've been subjected to many rumors about Toyota and Subaru's sports car dating back to its very birth. So far, none of them have proven true (if they had, we'd have had a convertible by now). Still, if Motoring is correct, we could be in for a very exciting few years with this little rear-driver.

By Brandon Turkus

See also: HQ move based on study, not pitch from Gov. Perry, Toyota says, Toyota moving US headquarters to Plano, Texas, Toyota restructuring US operations, possibly moving to Texas.