Say hello to the 2022 Toyota GR86
Color us surprised. After Akio Toyoda’s rumored demand for clear differentiation between the next-generation 86 sports car and its Subaru sibling, the BRZ, we expected the 2021 launch of Toyota’s sports car to be delayed—to next year, perhaps. The fully revealed, Japanese-spec GR 86 prototype before us here is a welcome sight.
Mechanically, there isn’t much unexpected. Like the first-gen coupe, the second-generation 86/BRZ are codeveloped by Toyota and Subaru. The Gazoo Racing-badged Toyota coupe, therefore, has a spec sheet nearly identical to that of the 2022 BRZ revealed in November. Up front sits a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter boxer-four plucked from Subaru’s Ascent and tuned to 232 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque; power goes to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual (or, if you really want it, a six-speed auto). MacPherson struts reside in the front, with double wishbones in the rear.
Much to their credit, Subaru and Toyota have refused to fatten these cars: The 2022 GR 86 boasts a curb weight of 2800 pounds, much the same as before. The strategic use of aluminum for the roof panels, plus updated front seats and mufflers, help the GR 86 keep its trim figure—which looks quite nice. The front fascia looses some of its sharkiness thanks to a blockier grille with now-functional brake ducts tucked to either side. The softened headlights gain F-Type-esque blades, while the taillights get a more angular treatment.
The Toyota’s interior remains minimalist: The familiar 7-inch touchscreen resides in the center of the dash, while the rest of the console-mounted switches, buttons, and dials are simple. (Keep in mind, however, that we only have photos of the right-hand-drive, Japanese-market car as of this writing.)
The real question, of course, can’t be answered by preliminary spec sheets or by camouflage-free photos. How will these siblings drive? Toyota hasn’t yet announced when the GR 86 will launch stateside; folks in Japan can get their hands on one this autumn. As for whether the new GR 86 will have a personality of its own, we can’t wait to slide behind the wheel of the GR 86 to find out. For now, hats off to Toyota and Subaru for keeping simple, enthusiast-friendly sports cars alive.