Chief engineer Tetsuya Tada with the Toyota 86.

The pre-production Toyota 86 that visitors to the Geneva show are drooling over, very nearly didn't make it.

Chief engineer Tetsuya Tada told Autocar magazine the suits at Toyota considered the rear-wheel drive, Subaru-engined project very risky, and they wanted proof that the 86 coupé would reach its sales targets before they would sign off on any further expenditure.

“Now that they have that proof,” he said, “we can begin to think about other development ideas for the car.”

Tada said he'd been asked a lot about turbocharging - given the engine's pedigree that's hardly surprising - but that he was also considering other ways to inject more gumption into Toyota's dainty little sports car.


He told the magazine that his team were already busy on a mid-life facelift for the car, including turbocharging (although that is more likely to happen behind a Subaru BRZ badge, we reckon), supercharging or even possibly going hybrid.

“An electric motor assistance solution is also possible, and would bring benefits that forced induction does not, such as a substantial boost in bottom-end torque without affecting throttle response, fuel consumption or emissions.”

He said that what he had in mind was an IMA system like the one on the Honda CRZ, way simpler and cheaper than the set-up in the Prius, and that the extra weight of the batteries (which would be under the floor to lower the car's centre of gravity) could be at least partially offset by lightening the body and running gear.