A drop-top 86 is coming to fight the next generation MX-5
A convertible version of Toyota’s sell-out new 86 coupe will rival Mazda’s MX-5, also due for a revamp in two years
THIS is the car that has to happen. It’s the Toyota 86 convertible and it’s most likely for the road in 2014.
No one at Toyota is denying a drop-top extension of the sell-out new coupe, which went on sale in Australia little more than six weeks ago and has waiting lists of up to 18 months. Yet there is still no official confirmation from Japan.
‘‘ Please, ask me another question,’’ head of the 86 program Tetsuya Tada laughs when Carsguide quizzes him.
Carparazzi has done the job for Tada with its impression of how the red-hot coupe will look without a roof.
The choice of a German number plate is a reflection of the car’s success in Europe and Toyota’s recent decision to set up an AMG-style hot rod division for Lexus at its one-time Formula One headquarters in Cologne.
The drop-top was definitely not part of the original 86 brief — a joint development with Subaru— but it has firmed with the incredible initial success of the 86.
Coupes generally hit their sales peak inside the first two years and Toyota knows it needs the convertible to stretch the appeal of the 86.
Production was originally pegged at 60,000 cars a year but burgeoning waiting lists around the world could force Toyota to spend on an upgrade to take the total beyond 75,000 in 2013.
Toyota Australia is currently quoting a minimum wait of three months and a worst-case delay nearer 18 months.
‘‘ For the GT automatic, it is three or four months. For the GTS manual, which is the most popular model, it’s out to about 14 months,’’ says Toyota spokesman Mike Breen.
Australia is pushing hard for extra cars and is waiting for news from Japan but ‘‘ because of the global demand, we’re still waiting for answers’’.
Meanwhile, the 86 convertible’s toughest rival— Mazda’s MX-5, the world’s favourite drop-top— is set for renewal in 2014. An Alfa Romeo version of the all-new MX-5 is part of the plan, though Alfa aims to use its own engine and bodywork.
‘‘ It’s great news. It helps us share development costs and increase production,’’ says Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson.
He says it will more punch and greater refinement than the current car.
Red-hot: Carparazzi’s take on the Toyota 86 convertible, tipped for 2014