When Subaru unveiled their second-gen BRZ last November, we thought Toyota’s version, the GR 86, would be close behind.
Apparently, we’d have to wait five months, but in the meantime Toyota has been working hard to make the jointly-developed sports car feel more like their own. Now, the GR 86 makes its world debut as the third vehicle in Toyota’s GR lineup, coming after the GR Supra sports coupe and GR Yaris hot hatch.
More Muscular Exterior Styling
As with the first generation of the two sports coupes, Toyota and Subaru worked together on the new GR 86 and BRZ, with the two models having a nearly identical appearance, sans some minor details. In Toyota’s case, that meant first and foremost outfitting the GR 86 with the “Functional Matrix” grille similar to the one found on the GR Yaris, while the headlight LED signature is also slightly different compared to the BRZ.
That’s not to say it’s not a prettier and more muscular design than before, with a lowered stance and curvier hips along with some other tweaks such as the slightly narrower greenhouse. Other new exterior features include motorsport-derived aerodynamic components such as special air outlets and side sill spoilers that are said to improve the car’s handling and stability.
A Driver-Centric Interior With Updated Tech
Toyota says it optimized the GR 86’s interior to maximize driver focus, placing the infotainment system in such a way that reduces the need to look away from the road. The 7-inch display now sports a more modern look, and upon startup shows an animation sequence inspired by the piston movements of the car’s boxer engine.
As for the rest of the interior’s design, it can be summed up nicely with one word: functional. The updates certainly bring it further into the modern age, but it also benefits from some old school charms. The fact that there are still some physical buttons, dials, and switches providing haptic feedback for the driver is one of those charms, and is a welcome sight in an age where full touch screen interiors are becoming more and more the norm.
While they were able to keep the car weighing roughly the same at 2,800 lbs (1,270 kg), Toyota claims it put in the extra work to get the new GR 86 to handle even better than its predecessor, which was already renowned for its driving dynamics. Through strategic use of lightweight materials, such as aluminum for the roof panels and fenders, they were able to keep the center of gravity low. Combine that with a 50 percent increase in torsional rigidity, and you have a recipe for a true driver’s car.
A More Powerful Engine, But Still No Turbo
The GR 86 will be powered by the same naturally aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four engine found in the Subaru BRZ, but with a very slight bump in power. The unit is good for 232 hp (235 PS / 173 kW) and 184 lb-ft (250 Nm) and allows the GR 86 to complete the sprint to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 6.3 seconds, or 1.1 seconds quicker than the outgoing model.
Peak power and torque arrive at 7,000 and 3,700 rpm respectively before a 7,400 rpm redline, and according to Toyota, the engine’s overall responsiveness has been enhanced to provide a better transition from low to high rpm. Power is still sent to the rear wheels via either a six-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual for those who prefer to row their own gears.
Safety As A Priority
Automatic transmission-equipped versions of the GR 86 will come with Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. The system includes various pre-collision safety features to help avoid accidents, secondary collision avoidance measures to mitigate subsequent impacts, and emergency rescue support in the unfortunate event that an accident does occur.
When Will Sales Begin And How Much Will It Cost?
Surprisingly, despite the delay, the new GR 86 is scheduled to go on sale in Japan this fall alongside its Subaru twin. There was no word on when other markets would be receiving the car, but if Subaru’s timeline for the BRZ is any indication, it should be soon after, therefore, expect to see it in North American dealerships by the end of 2021 or early 2022 the latest with further details to be released in the coming months. As for pricing, in the U.S., we anticipate it to start close to $30,000.
Unlike The New BRZ, The GR 86 Is Coming To Europe
Subaru disappointed friends of the series when it recently announced that the second generation BRZ will not be sold in Europe. However, the new GR 86 will launch in the Old Continent with Toyota to reveal more later in the year.