Toyota unveils new GR 86 and, yes, it's coming to SA
Toyota has unveiled its all-new GR 86 sports car. Built to replace the GT 86 that's been with us since 2012, this back-to-basics rear-wheel drive sports car is basically (as it was before) a rebadged version of the new Subaru BRZ announced at the end of 2020.
Although mechanically identical to its Subaru twin, the new GR 86 (that stands for Gazoo Racing in case you you didn't know – essentially Toyota's sports car division) differentiates itself visually through the fitment of a unique front apron with a simpler matrix radiator grille. Apart from that there's not a hell of a lot separating these two Japanese sportsters.
While an aluminium roof and body panels help keep weight down, power is provided by a new naturally-aspirated 2.4-litre boxer motor producing 173kW and 250Nm. The latter is available from just 3,500rpm, which is a pretty big deal considering that in the outgoing GT 86 peak torque – a mere 205Nm – only arrived at an astronomical 6,400rpm. Expect this to do wonders for this sports car's everyday drivability and acceleration. As before power can be fed to the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox.
Evolutionary bloat is inevitable these days and as such the GR86 is ever so slightly longer than its predecessor. On the upside, however, Toyota has lowered the new car's roofline by 10mm to help achieve an even lower centre of gravity, and also increased the torsional stiffness of its chassis by a whopping 50% – expect this thing to handle like a beast. Like the BRZ, the GR 86 also comes fitted with a limited-slip rear differential. For track driving, the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system offers no less than five different settings and has been recalibrated to allow more input from the driver before it starts to rein things in. VSC can also be turned off completely to help maximise your drifting thrills.
Inside the cabin you can look forward to a seven-inch digital instrument cluster with the tachometer front and centre featuring an integrated digital speedometer readout. To the left of the tachometer is a programmable meter that can be toggled to display battery amperage, water temperature or even a g-meter. Stick the GR 86 into track mode and the tachometer automatically shifts to a linear graph with a colour display that allows for a quick and easy reference so the driver can focus on the road – or racetrack – ahead.
In terms of availability the new second-generation Toyota GR 86 will arrive in SA during the first quarter of 2022 with final pricing and specification expected to be announced closer to that time.