Toyota reveals all-new GR 86 sports car with improved power-to-weight ratio

By Jason Woosey Time of article published Apr 6, 2021

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TOYOTA CITY, JAPAN - Five months after Subaru whipped the covers off of its second-generation BRZ, Toyota has finally revealed its version of the compact rear-wheel drive sports car joint venture and it’s now called the GR 86.

Becoming an official member of Toyota’s new motorsport-inspired GR family might not have resulted in any crazy performance gains or in any turbos being bolted on, but the new model does gain a bigger and more powerful version of Subaru’s normally aspirated flat-four engine, and as you’d expect it’s in the same state of tune as its six-star twin.

The new 2.5-litre motor produces 173kW at 7000rpm and 250Nm from 3700 revs, a useful improvement over the old 2-litre engine’s 147kW and 205Nm outputs.

Boasting similar dimensions to the current car - with overall length having increased by 25mm and height reduced by 10mm while width stays the same at 1775mm - the new GR 86 weighs just 4kg more than the previous model, with Toyota listing a kerb weight of 1270kg. That effectively means the power to weight ratio increases from 116kW per tonne to 136kW/t.

This results in an improved 0-100km/h acceleration time of 6.3 seconds, down from the current car’s 7.4s. Toyota says engine responsiveness has been improved too, providing “smooth, stress-free sensations from low to high rpms.”

The 86 boasts a lower centre of gravity too, not only thanks to the reduced height but also through the use of lightweight materials in the higher reaches - the roof panel, for instance, is made from aluminium.

Although almost all of its body panels are shared with the BRZ, the Toyota does at least avoid looking identical to its Japanese twins, and this is largely thanks to a completely different front bumper design featuring a squarer design for the air intake.

Apart from the badging, the two appear near-identical in the cabin too, where we see a new 20.3cm touchscreen infotainment system and digital instrument cluster.

Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission. Those opting for the auto model will get to enjoy Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance tech, which includes various pre-collision active safety features.

Toyota South Africa says it plans to launch the new GR 86 locally during the first quarter of 2022.

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