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New Toyota GR86 is a sub-£30k sports car

Toyota’s rival to the Mazda MX-5 RF starts from £29,995

  • GR86 is the sister car to the Subaru BRZ
  • Powered by a new 2.4-litre ‘Boxer’ engine
  • On sale soon from £29,995

Toyota has announced pricing for the new GR86 sports car, with the successor to the critically acclaimed GT86 starting from just £29,995. This new car offers a larger, more powerful engine than the outgoing model and joins the growing Toyota GR (Gazoo Racing) lineup alongside the Toyota GR Yaris hatchback and Toyota GR Supra coupe. The new car will be available in July, and the Japanese brand has stated that more information will be published next week.

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The new GR86 is a result of the ongoing partnership between Toyota and Subaru, which produced the GT86 and Subaru BRZ sports cars back in 2012. As with the previous models, both the new GR86 and BRZ share the same engine and platform. The same partnership is behind the new Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra electric SUVs.

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The GR86 will only be offered in one trim level, with the choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or an automatic transmission for around £2,000 extra. Standard equipment will include grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres, adaptive LED headlights, an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, dual-zone climate control, heated seats and a reversing camera. Automatic cars will also benefit from a plethora of driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and automatic high beams.

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When the GR86 arrives in showrooms in July, it will have few direct rivals, with Subaru confirming the new BRZ will not be sold in the UK. Indirect competitors will include the Audi TT, BMW 2 Series and Mazda MX-5

Toyota GR86: engine and performance

The GR86 is the latest model in Toyota’s lineup to get the Gazoo Racing ‘GR’ name, and is the third model to be developed by the firm’s in-house tuning company. Toyota also revealed the GR Corolla earlier this month, but it will not be sold in the UK.

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Power comes from a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which replaces the outgoing 2.0-litre unit. This produces 231bhp, which is a 34bhp increase over the previous car. Performance is significantly improved, with 0-62mph taking 6.3 seconds - 1.1 seconds quicker than the GT86.

Power is sent to the rear wheels via a standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional six-speed automatic. A limited-slip differential is fitted to the rear axle to distribute power more effectively between the rear wheels. 

Design, platform and dimensions

As with the outgoing GT86, the new GR86 shares its styling with the Subaru BRZ. The front end features a more angular pair of headlights and a large rectangular air intake with smaller vertical intakes positioned either side. 

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The side profile is broadly similar to the old car’s, with a sharply sloping roofline and tiny rear quarter window. Air ducts feature on the front wings, leading to a protruding lower sill and angular rear wheelarches. All cars will also get a set of 18-inch alloy wheels with a gloss–black finish.

At the rear, there’s a new set of lights and a redesigned boot lid that features a small ‘ducktail’ spoiler. Beneath this are a pair of large exhaust pipes and a new rear diffuser finished in black. 

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The new car is underpinned by an upgraded version of the same platform used in the GT86. It has been strengthened with additional panels, which make it stiffer and improves the car’s handling. Toyota claims these changes make the new car 50% more rigid than before. The platform means the GR86 is the same size as its predecessor.

Interior and technology

The interior has 2+2 seating with sports seats in the front and small rear seats that are for occasional use only. A new seven-inch digital instrument cluster is fitted, alongside an eight-inch infotainment system. 

Both the steering wheel and dashboard have been redesigned, while retaining the familiar layout from the GT86. The new-look centre console features a trio of rotary dials for the climate control, along with a row of physical switches. All cars will also feature leather and ‘Ultrasuede’ seats, with several red contrasting details on the seats, door cards and carpet. 

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As previously mentioned, the automatic version will get Subaru’s Eyesight driver assistance system. This is operated by a front-mounted camera that can alert the driver if a potential collision is detected. 

2022 Toyota GR86 prototype review, by Stuart Gallagher

The Toyota GT86 always felt like it needed more power. Toyota, or more accurately, Subaru, seems to have listened. The new car has a bigger engine and a good chunk more power, but in truth the way that the power comes in is the big change. The full amount of torque comes in at 3,700rpm, whereas before it was only accessible right at the top of the rev range.

That means you don’t constantly have to change down, and it also means the GR86 feels better suited to twisty roads that involve a lot of acceleration and braking. Meanwhile, the suspension and chassis have been broadly left alone; not an issue as the old car’s chassis was its selling point.

This new car is better at long journeys than before, more easily settling down to a cruise, while the front seats are now more comfortable and supportive. The changes to the engine and the improvement in refinement are very welcome, and turn the GR86 into a much better all-round sports car.

Want to splash the cash on something fast and fun? Check out our Top 3 used performance cars for under £40,000

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