Toyota’s next generation GT86 could share its bones with the Mazda MX-5 Miata

Shared technology is commonplace among automakers these days, but there are definitely some platforms that get a little more “use” than others. The new Mazda MX-5 Miata is quickly becoming one of them.

Motoring is reporting that Toyota is seriously considering using the Miata as the foundation for its next generation GT86 sports car. That of course means the little roadster would underpin the Scion FR-S, and likely the BRZ as well. Fiat will also use the new MX-5 as the platform for the Fiat 124 Spider. In total, Mazda’s iconic roadster would be the basis for five vehicles due out in the next couple years.

At this point, it’s uncertain whether Toyota would borrow the MX-5 chassis, especially considering it’s hard at work on its own rear-wheel drive platform that could service both the next generation GT86 and a smaller model. If Toyota does borrow from Mazda, the GT86 and FR-S would shrink in size and weight and, paired with a smaller displacement turbocharged motor, the new crop of Toyota-family sports cars would become strong rivals to the Miata.

Mazda would of course still have the differentiation of an ultra-light 2.0 liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder, but it begs the question of whether the Japanese automaker would be shooting itself in the foot by providing such a well-praised foundation to a direct rival.

Either way, Toyota will downsize its next generation GT86 in order to improve the fun-to-drive factor and potency of its engine. Before the redesigned sports car comes to market, Toyota will introduces a facelifted GT86 and Scion FR-S in April of 2016 with 10 more horsepower, Sachs dampers, a reinforced rear suspension, and other chassis tweaks from Gazoo Racing.

While technology sharing among automakers fulfills the “two heads are better than one” philosophy, I wonder how far brands can proceed in co-developing new vehicles before it becomes a situation of “which shade of gray would you like?” for buyers.

Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.
Cars

The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.
Product Review

Bigger battery and folding top add appeal, but BMW’s i8 remains ultra-niche

Want a high-performance vehicle that's more than just a frightening driving experience? Desire the look and feel of a sports car with the road manners of a luxury commuter? The BMW i8 is for you.
Cars

2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.
Cars

Psychedelic Volkswagen Microbus from Woodstock returns for an encore

With its trippy paint scheme, the Volkswagen "Light" bus became a symbol of the 1969 Woodstock music festival. VW teamed up with the artist who created this rolling mural to stage a comeback in time for Woodstock's 50th anniversary.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Cars

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.