Lexus 86 imagined: Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 twins get a luxury option


The new Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 sports-car twins are precision driving instruments, but also really noisy. Drive has come up with a plan for a third option in the line-up.

Joshua Dowling


The new-generation Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ sports-car siblings have delivered a long list of improvements compared to the original models.

There is now a bigger, more powerful engine. Even better road-holding. And a much more user-friendly cabin (albeit still a tight squeeze).

Following a recent road test of the 2022 Subaru BRZ, we came away impressed by how much it had matured. It was as if it had gone to finishing school.

One colleague in the Drive office described the steering, handling and responsiveness as like operating a pair of scissors, such is the precision.

But we also couldn’t take a phone call at highway speeds on coarse road surfaces. We had to skip Apple CarPlay or Bluetooth and opt for old-school earbuds.


That got us thinking the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 (now GR86) twins are one step away from broadening their appeal even further.

They need a luxury option.

Keyboard warriors have probably already stopped reading this story at this point, and are writing furious messages about how we don’t understand the purity of sports cars.

Disclosure: we test more than 250 cars per year on a mix of familiar and unfamiliar road surfaces, so we reckon we’re qualified to comment on when a car has an unusually high level of road roar.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ be axed or changed in their current guises.

I’m saying there is one rather large opportunity for improvement: refinement.


Imagine if Toyota could stuff some sound-deadening behind the dashboard and in the wheel arches so you could actually hear yourself think – or, you know, take a phone call without the need for in-ear headphones.

Anticipating a barrage of abuse from P-platers who think we don’t understand the market for this car, I would like to point out that rev heads of all ages buy sports cars like this – including doctors, pilots, and other people who rely on hearing in their day job.

With that in mind, we got our resident Photoshop guru Theophilus Chin to work his magic on what a Lexus 86 might look like – tentatively badged the Lexus ‘UC’ (U for Urban, C for Coupe).

To be clear, this car came from our imagination – and Theo’s computer skills – and is in no way part of an official program from Toyota, Lexus or Subaru.

Helpfully, Theo has made the Lexus 86 look quite achievable – and rather easy on the eye.

Here’s hoping this story makes it to Japan.

At the very least we might end up with some much-needed noise suppression for a future top-end variant of the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86.

Joshua Dowling

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in late 2018, and has been a World Car of the Year judge for 10 years.

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