Toyota found a huge open window in the early 2010s. People were obsessed with the classic Toyota Corolla AE86, which seems to be a perfect car for various sports – it was compact, good-looking, and very agile. So, Toyota presented a new model in 2012 – the GT86. Like the old Corolla AE86, the new sports car was small, fun, had a front-engine/rear-wheel-drive layout and a naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine.
But people started noticing problems with the new GT86 – cheap interior, fading plastics, and, most importantly, dull engine. So, sales began to drop, and rumors spread that Toyota is working on a new successor called GR86.
Gladly, we don’t need to wait anymore – the new Toyota GR86 is going on sale this year!
Is it powerful enough?
Sorry for spreading negativity about the first model. Even though it has some irritative bits, GT86 handles like an actual sports car – nothing like modern vehicles where many electrical control units and automatically adjustable suspensions take all of the fun away. The biggest problem was the engine, which didn’t provide that vital feel of the power kicking in.
The new Toyota GR86 has an upgraded 2.4-liter boxer engine, which produces 228 HP. It can pull the 1300 kg car from zero to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds. This isn’t much, but bear in mind that the engine is naturally aspirated and only has four cylinders!
Many hate that GT86’s 2.0-liter engine produces its maximum torque only at 6400 RPM – that’s torture! A much more desirable 3700 RPM line for maximum torque should make this 2.4-liter engine perfect for this car, even without a turbocharger.
Toyota put a lot of effort into GR86’s handling
It seems that even perfection can be improved. Toyota kept the dimensions almost the same as they were in GT86 to avoid reinventing the wheel.
But now, they made roof panels and fenders out of aluminum to lower the center-of-gravity. Body and torsional rigidity also has been improved, so the car would stick to the road at any speed and conditions.
Does it look appropriate?
We’re all used to Toyota cars being reliable, practical, and boring, so this manufacturer had to work hard on thinking out of the box game.
The new Toyota GR86’s rear end is odd but cool. A wider version of this part would be much better, but they had to narrow it down to achieve the best aerodynamics possible – that’s why it doesn’t bother me at all.
For me, the front end is too generic. Toyota wants to make this model the ultimate sports car, but there’s just too little going on at the front. It isn’t ugly or tacky, but the old design had more charisma. Anyone who’s buying a Toyota GR86 wants fun and engaging sports car, so it shouldn’t look like a budget model from KIA. I am leaving this to your judgment.
Toyota GR86 vs rivals
There are a few similarly priced sports cars on the market, which also often appear on lists of the best budget sports cars. Mazda MX-5 or Miata is the strongest rival – 0-100 km/h speed is almost the same, prices are very similar, and it’s also rear-wheel drive, with atmospheric four-cylinder engines only. And these offer tons of fresh air too, so no doubts the GR86 will struggle to steal sales.
VW Golf GTI, Honda Civic Type R always were and still are just sporty versions of daily cars. And these have front-wheel-drive systems, so… yes, not nearly as fun as Toyota.
The GR86 should be a riot to drive. I loved the way the previous car had to be squeezed out to deliver its abilities. This one seems to have some of the key areas improved. Although I didn't make my mind about the looks yet.
- Good bits: Improved power figures, altered torque curve and every bit as promising as the GT86. Should be hell of a car on track and perhaps ultimate fun without exceeding the speed limit.
- Room for improvement: The front looks a little bit dull. And I bet entusiasts will ask for more power.