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Just how different is the all-new Toyota 86 from its Subaru BRZ twin?

We take a closer look at these jointly developed next-generation sports cars
PHOTO: Toyota

The next-generation Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ are finally out in the open. It’s getting people talking, alright, but not all of them are for the right reasons.

You see, as mentioned in our previous story, there were rumors that the big reveal of the 86 was going to be delayed because Toyota wanted the all-new sports car to simply be different from its BRZ twin. But as was shown to us during the global premiere, it didn’t look like things went as planned. Well, just how “different” are the two, then?

In terms of looks, not much. The headlamps of the two are shaped similarly, and only the profile of the DRLs gives them some contrast. The overall shape and the lines of the hood of the 86 and the BRZ are virtually identical as well.

The Toyota 86 in Red and Blue

Down below is a bit of a different story. The grilles are very, very distinct, and you wouldn’t think these were twins looking at these parts alone. The 86 also has a solid lower lip, whereas the BRZ has more air intakes underneath. The side intakes flanking their grilles look a bit alike, though.

Moving out back, the similarities become more apparent. Actually, scratch that—the rear ends of these two clearly show how they’re cut from the same mold. We probably wouldn’t have been able to distinguish them from one another if it weren’t for the Toyota/Gazoo Racing and Subaru/BRZ badges.

The Toyota 86 Differences

The interiors of these two are interchangeable as well. The only significant change you’ll see from the BRZ to the 86 is the infotainment system. The 86 can now also be had with EyeSight safety and driver-assist features, and you can’t go any more Subaru than that… I suppose.

Mechanically, they’re two peas in a pod as well. One powertrain is available between the two: A four-cylinder Boxer engine with the same bore and stroke. There’s a slight gap in compression ratio (12.5 for the 86, 13.5 for the BRZ), plus the Subie is a few kilograms heavier and generates 7hp and 1Nm less, but no one will notice this in real-world conditions.

The Toyota 86 Engine

Besides, the two share the same suspension setup as well—MacPherson struts up front, double wishbones out back—so they’ll probably drive very, very similarly as well. Heck, even the four-wheel ventilated disc brake setup is shared here.

Now, is it a problem if the 86 isn’t very much different from the BRZ? Personally, I don’t think it is. If it weren’t for this capital alliance between Toyota and Subaru, then we probably wouldn’t even be here to talk about a new 86. I’d rather see this jointly developed sports car than not see a next-generation model at all.

The Toyota 86 Angled Front View

The Toyota 86 in Silver on the Road

At the end of the day, both Toyota and Subaru just want to make better cars for gearheads like us. I’ll just be here looking forward to driving them if and when they arrive here in our market.

The Toyota 86 Front View in Red and Blue

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PHOTO: Toyota
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