Toyota unveils new GR 86 sports car

Published April 9, 2021, 12:28 PM

by Inigo Roces

Keeping the fun of driving alive

When it first debuted in 2012, the Toyota 86 served as a much needed shot of adrenaline into its lineup, offering the joy of driving in a compact and accessible package. With a name alluding to one of Toyota’s most popular yet affordable sporty models, the Corolla Sprinter via its chassis code AE86, the 86 served as a vital link to the purity and simplicity of driving fun and Toyota’s heritage as a favored vehicle for grassroots motorsports.

Since then, the vehicles have been utilized as base models for a variety of participatory motorsports, including rallies, one-make races, gymkhana, and dirt trials, while others have been uniquely customized. A total of more than 200,000 86s have been sold worldwide, playing the role of reliable partners for their owners.

Toyota, with the help of the 86’s development partner, Subaru, hopes to continue that tradition with the new generation of the 86.

Following the GR Supra and GR Yaris, the new GR 86 is the third global model to bear the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) name, joining the GR series of sports cars.

TGR’s new GR 86 and Subaru’s new BRZ were jointly developed. Yet, although the two vehicles share the same vehicle base, the two companies focused on imbuing their respective models with a distinct driving feel. While engaging in friendly rivalry with the BRZ development team, TGR sought to develop a vehicle that would provide happiness to 86 fans, and realize an evolution of the 86’s unique driving sensations. As a result, the new GR 86 is specially designed for sports performance, and provides direct and satisfying driving performance of the highest order.

The new GR 86 boasts a stance distinctive of front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicles. Its low, horizontal underbody and narrow cabin rear combine to create a broad, low-center-of-gravity appearance. The front of the vehicle features the GR-specific functional matrix grille, which fuses performance and emotionality.

Inside, it featuers a driver-focused cabin, with instrumentation and switches optimally located. Its central display features a seven-inch TFT screen. Its opening animation sequence is inspired by the piston movements of the GR 86’s horizontally opposed engine, and fosters a sense of excitement even before the drive begins.

Propeling it is a new 2.4-liter, horizontally opposed, four-cylinder engine.  It produces 235-PS of power at 7,000 rpm and 250-Nm of torque at 3,700 rpm. The larger engine can rocket it from 0-100km/h in just 6.3 seconds, down from the 7.4 seconds of the outgoing model. Engine responsiveness has also been enhanced, providing smooth, stress-free sensations from low to high rpms.

Like before, the compact, horizontally-opposed engine was key to achieving a low center-of-gravity. Nonetheless, Toyota has endeavored to provide a step-change in agility with the use of aluminum for the roof panels and fenders. Updated front seats and mufflers contribute to the reduced weight.

The GR 86 also sports improvements in aerodynamics, with new air outlets, side sill spoilers, and other parts that improve steering responsiveness and stability.

As for safety, the top-of-theline automatic version of the GR 86 will include Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology with pre-collision safety technologies that help avoid or reduce collision impacts; and emergency rescue support and secondary collision avoidance support in the event of an accident.

The new GR 86 is scheduled to launch in Japan in autumn 2021, with the rest of the world following the months after.