TOYOBARU PART II: Burdening the cavalcade of exceptionally performing battery electric vehicles is an unavoidable with heavyweight classification needed to tote adequate energy. For bantam weight track -able street performance machines the internal combustion engine powered rear drive coupe will die hard. Credited with creating the legacy of bantam weight rear drive sport compact cars, the Toyota conglomerate, once again, has turned to its partner, Subaru, well established for all machines all-wheel drive World Rally EXpermimental, to gestate a second generation of Toyobaru fraternal twins. Now marketed under the Gazoo Racing line, just below the Supra performance coupe, is the re-designed 2022 Toyota GR 86 2+2 sport compact coupe.
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WHAT: 2022 Toyota GR 86 2nd Generation performance 2+2 sport compact coupe. The GN8 GR 86 replaces the Series ZN6 Toyota 86 GT and is a fraternal twin of the Series GD8 Subaru BRZ, both born on the same Subaru Ota Gunma assembly line. The 2022 Toyota GR 86, partly incorporating adopting Subaru Global Platform elements comes out 50% more torsionally rigid. Lightweight aluminum roof, hood and front fenders have ensured no weight gain despite the larger powerplant.
• Powertrain: FA24D 2.4L DOHC 16V DI gas boxer horizontally opposed (flat)-4 = 228 hp @ 7000 rpm / 184 lb-ft @ 3800 rpm
• + 23 hp (+11%) / +28 lb-ft (+18%) vs. 4U-GSE 2.0L flat-4
• Drivetrain: 6-speed manual helical transaxle + rear-wheel drive + Torsen limited slip rear differential
• Drivetrain (Optional): 6-speed torque converter automatic planetary transmission & steering wheel shift paddles
WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE(S): They say the “all new” Toyota GR 86 is a maturation of the preceding generation Scion / Toyota 86‘s homage to the AE86 Hachi Roku Corolla GT sport compact coupe. Vestiges of Zuffenhausen (or new Nissan Z) appear in taller curved hood saddles to match arching fenders, a deeper descending hood valley and wide upwards boomerang headlamp housings. Trunk lid wing spoilers have ditched for a Supra -esque integrated duck bill. Where oh where have the fender horizontal piston emblems gone?
The remaining high belt-line Coke bottle fuselage is adorned with integrated lower body skirts emanating from the aft fender which has a vertical crease brake duct. A more curved sloping roof and more pronounced rear quarters smacks more of fastback. Wrap around lateral boomerang taillamps are split by a narrow lower trunk lid. The rear bumper cover has been upsized to jut out. The lower rear fascia is beveled with a center license plate bowl, The lower rear valance, carried by a bottom diffuser, is a dark contrast piece with center back-up lights rising above the dual exhaust outlets with their large stainless steel tips.
WHY: Lightweight, low center of gravity, torquier boxer engine, rear wheel drive w/ Torsen diff. and handbrake remain a Hachi Roku recipe for truly accessible 2+2 sports coupe fun.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Winter 2021-2022
WHERE: Toyota new vehicle dealers
WHERE MADE: Ota, Gunma Prefecture, Japan
HOW ROADWORTHY: It was a forgone conclusion that the second generation Toybaru twins would not receive forced induction, no matter the incessant whining about the previous generation’s lack of lower speed grunt. Instead, a mere additional 400 cc in freer flowing horizontal piston displacement and resultant 18% torque increase, has imbued the sport 2+2 with prodiguous throttle response immediacy that was lacking in the past. An aluminum hood, doors and front fenders ensured there would be no greater mass the 2022 GR 86 successor would carry over its immediate ancestor. Gone is the need for Hesychast prayer and co-pilot eye covering for every 5000 rpm upshift needed for admission to the left lane of the motorway. Consequently cabin din has been reduced to conversation friendly. Mandrel bent large diameter exhaust authentically amplifies boxer engine piston burble. While not a truly close ratio gearbox, transmission shift lever travel is appropriately short with minimal notchiness. Clutch takeup linear, with disengagement low in the release travel, avoiding stalls and enhancing left leg comfort.
• Drive Modes: Track mode (deactivates stability control) + traction control deactivation
HOW LIMBER: Front suspension added sub-frame cross-members, while a new ring frame ties the upper and rear lower wishbone arms for improved wheel location and lateral load control. Quicker compressing dampers & rebound springs better disperse vertical forces for reduced axle hop. The boxer engine’s low center of gravity endows a suspension with progressively compression springing to slightly roll when cruising but to hang flat under higher forces. The standard Torsen rear differential allows a bit of kick out under hard throttle but reigns in outer tire spin to control understeer. Spec ‘ing gummy Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires to Premium trims was an astute move. The steering rack transmits grip tenacity and directional movement in response to accurate inputs at the quick winding helm. Turn in suffers from less wander as well. A definite chink in the GR 86 ‘s overall performance armor is a brake pedal with confidence detracting low pedal response until approaching the firewall terminus.
HOW FAR: 26 combined miles per gallon; 431 mile highway range
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: √ Sized larger compact family and hence more adult accepting than the VA Subaru WRX. A one inch increase in wheelbase translates to a 1.5″ inch boost to 2nd Row legroom. Greater roof raking takes a bite out of headroom, though.
HOW USEFUL: √ Slight incline folding unified 2nd Row seatback; √ Door mount wing mirrors; √ Cargo space (nominal): 12.5 cubic feet; √ Cup holders x 2, Bottle holders x 2 (doors) ♦ Tow Rating: Not Rated. -1 Tall trunk load liftover, Narrow load aperture; 2nd Row seatback release accessed only by entering lunch box sized 2nd Row.
HOW SAFE: √ 8 airbags; √ IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus (2022 MY); √ Rear camera w/ predictive grid; √ LED adaptive swiveling headlamps; √ Hill start assist (brake engagement)
+1 Low cowl, door mount wing mirrors enhance forward view; Narrow B pillars; Tall sized sedan backlight;
Partial Autonomous Driving: (EXCLUSIVE TO Automatic transmission equipped models)
-1 Eye Sight Level 1.0 suite = √ Forward collision avoidance pre-braking & throttle management; √ Lane departure & sway warning; √ Adaptive Cruise Control w/ stop & go + lead vehicle movement alert; √ Automatic High beam LED headlamps
HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: Whats stands for cabin chic in the 2022 Toyota GR 86 cabin chic is a mix of bits from other Seven Star and Yota products. Family imprints are evident center console seat heat switches, sunvisors, infotainment menus and graphics, berber floor mats, seats fabric patterns and wall plastic grains. Unique to Toyobarus are a new TFT variable instrument cluster, initially white & red on black mono dial with G forces and power graphs and lap times counter, which transitions to a color lateral tachometer when traction control is disengaged.
Steering column & wheel bits, including horizontal spoke thumb wheel controls and the right side column cruise control stalk, could be found in a Toyota Corolla hatchback. Center stack controls have been re-arranged with push button ignition mounted higher. Climate control knobs are larger and mode toggles return enlarged and metallicized. Disappointingly some nifty contrast accenting and center stack bezeling from the previous generation Toyota 86 has departed to make way for a more conventional and hence airy sensation. Ears will notice that this is a better insulated cabin than before (note there is now a trunk lid felt liner).
√ Heated 6-way driver’s, 4-way front passenger manual adjust sport bucket seats, w/ ballistic cloth upholstery; √ Comfort keyless entry & push-button ignition; √ 4 power windows, front w/ full up & down express; √ Auto climate control, 2-zone; √ Leather tilt/ telescoping D-shape steering wheel; √ Aluminum pedal covers.
+/-: Center console traction + stability control disengage button [purposely] remain flush & indistinctive.
-1: One touch turn signals (require opposite flick to disengage); Front seat heat controls buried in media display
Cool Gizmo(s): √ new color TFT gauge cluster with Stability control disengaged unique graph display
Details Done Right: √ Ultrasuede seating +upper door panels w/ silver contrasting tandem stitching; √ Aluminum pedals; √ Leather wrapped steering wheel & shifter boot + silver contrast tandem seam stitching √ Soft panel layered dashtop and door panels; √ Metallicized door pull √ Flush door and center console toggle switchgear; √ Berber floor mats.
Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Steering wheel lacks flat bottom while boss is “T” for “Corolla or Camry” with “GR” for “Gazoo Racing”relegated to a bottom; Loses previous generations pedal matching rocker panel scuff covers; Hard plastic center console casing; Thin trunk liner carpet; Dashboard climate ducts lack embellishment
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: √ 8.0″ portrait oriented, dash embedded touch LCD infotainment screen; √ Rotary audio volume dial, selection, defroster & Home screen switches ; √ Bluetooth, hands-free communications; √ SMS messaging; √ 6-speaker, 160 watt HD radio, streaming audio √ Android Auto + Apple CarPlay; √ Starlink Apps; √ USB-A x 4 (Row 2 x 2), 12V x 2.
- + New Subaru infotainment menu
- -1 No lower center stack storage; Audio system upgrade to 8-speakers not notably loud or deep
Applications by Starlink (mobile device powered): ♦ Chimani, landmark travel info; ♦ Ebird ornithological identifier ; ♦ Eve Connect remote home security & climate monitor;
By Subscription: √ SiriusXM (90 days included); √ Travellink (1 year trial included); √ 1 year National Auto Sport Association membership includes one (1) High Performance Driving instruction event.
HOW MUCH: $32,600 = as tested 2022 Toyota GR 86 Premium
WHAT’S MISSING: More soft surfaces, less mono-dark industrial materials, the latest Subie WRX’s available Starlink 11.7″ portrait media display.
ANY COMPETITION: Mazda MX-5 Miata: +1 the drop tops, the short throw shifter ; Ford Mustang 2.0T: +1 pony car look; Toyota Supra 2.0 ??
BOTTOM LINE: With a serious revision, Toyobaru keeps bearing the rear drive, manual transmission Hachi Roku sport compact coupe torch.
Contributing Editor: T. Paluch