Toyota GR86

The Toyota GR 86 is much more than just a sympathetic alternative to the turbo trend, the front-wheel drive monotony and generally to the everyday automotive routine. Because after the extensive facelift, it's no longer the old GT 86.

Don't worry: everything is different. And yet one of the GR 86 is immediately familiar: Sure, because Toyota's sporty intervention troop GR pulls the body creases smooth, strengthens the body and pumps up the muscles - but the core remains: the free-breathing boxer even sits with a favorable center of gravity " lower and now transmits 235 hp and 250 Nm to the rear wheels via a stiffer cardan shaft and limited-slip differential.

Yes, the GR remains an old-school driving fun car: An affordable sports coupé (from 33,990 euros) with jump seats. But you get in at the front left anyway: sits sportily low instead of SUV-like high; look at a small leather steering wheel with real buttons, grab the handbrake or grab the short shifter. Okay, there's a lot of plastic around it, but also a little more leather and Alcántara than before. This goes well with the wonderfully analog character of the Japanese.

A bit of digitization is needed

The adaptive headlights now throw LED light onto the asphalt, and a playful Japanese eight-inch touchscreen infotainment with smartphone-compatible app folklore greets you from the double DIN slot. As if the GR86 didn't already offer enough entertainment.

You're looking for harness belts for a moment, the manually adjustable sports seats are so tightly gripping you with their firm cheeks. But even with the three-point belt, it fits like racing overalls, maybe just a little bit too high. It has enough room for your head, at least if you are not taller than 1.90 or wear a helmet regularly. But we only need it on the race track. And so the outfit travels to the Circuito Monte Blanco near Seville in a 276-liter trunk. Alternatively, the rear seat wall could be thrown over with a flick of the wrist so that a semi-slick wheel set can be accommodated there through the enlarged flap. Exaggerated? Wait.

What else? The GR just fits like they measured you in your sleep; shortened the shift lever to your arm's length, trimmed the aluminum pedals to the size of your shoes, pointed the steering wheel directly at you and brought the now digital rev counter into the center of your field of vision in such a way that you actually don't need the mouse cinema to the left and right of it. Whereby the LCD screens definitely offer something entertaining: Lateral acceleration gyroscopes, torque and performance graphs, they even hide a lap timer here.

Finest suction cup tuning


Turn the key. No, stop, press the start button. The 2.4 liter engine punches itself awake without roaring the historic old town of Seville. It doesn't matter, because inside the vacuum cleaner roars with box amplification, but authentically. The chav in a moans, would like it louder, but it's 2022 and not 1998.In addition, the two-plus-two-seater is an honest guy. One that doesn't pretend to be more than the aerodynamic body promises.

Still a little grumpy, the red-metallic Japanese rolls out of Seville on the multi-lane. The blue coolant light reminds you to exercise restraint, despite an outside temperature of 30 degrees. After all, it goes out right at the end of the town. Downshifting through the bony, short alley from the extra carbon-reinforced fourth gear to third, or rather further into second. click. click. Slap on the gas pedal and press out - until you've found its 250 Newton meters. Whereby you now unearth the power noticeably faster. Instead of just before the limiter, it is already present from 3700 rpm and spreads out on a plateau instead of dropping off again immediately. Yes, the boxer is already unrecognizable from the first meters.

Sure, because the GR squad bore the cylinders from 86 to 94 millimeters, gaining 399 cc and increasing the diameter and length of the manifold on the intake side. The throttle valve is also growing, as are the intake valves with hollow valve stems including newly designed valve springs and three different spring rates. Even more slippery tuning details? Okay, so the engine mass was also lightened by means of thinner cylinder liners and a rocker cover made of synthetic resin instead of aluminum. In order to maintain the speed stability, Gazoo Racing increased the diameter of the crankshaft journals and reinforced the connecting rods together with the correspondingly adapted connecting rod bearings.

Only 240 hp? Enough for a hallelujah!


That's why the 35 hp and 50 Nm more powerful GR no longer feels as weak as the 200 hp predecessor. Still not much in a world where small-volume turbo engines like the GR Yaris set the tone? Yes, but the GR86 delivers more than 6.3 seconds from zero to one hundred suggest. Sure, the speed needle swings with a sharp accelerator pedal characteristic and the combination of intake manifold and direct injection motivated, but not panicked up the number scale up to seven-five. Subjectively, however, the speed gained feels much faster than the objective speedometer indicates. Even on the freeway.

Automatic is (not) an option

Yes, on the Autobahn, not every TDI will blow you away. In addition, at least theoretically, an active track holder and adaptive cruise control assist even in traffic jams. However, only with the GR 86 with automatic. However, we avoid it like the devil avoids holy water. After all, there is really no reason to order the six-stage machine for 2780 euros anymore. With 6.9 seconds, despite the shorter gear ratio, it needs six tenths longer to reach a hundred than the GR 86 with a manual six-speed gearbox including new carbon synchronization and it also only runs 216 instead of 226 km/h.But the worst: The converter decouples one with the sluggish switching operations from the essentials in the GR 86: driving.

Yes, with a GR 86 you don't take the double lane express connection to the racetrack, but the winding old country road right next to it. Yes, it doesn't even bother that it has probably not been renovated since the new motorway was built. Because you didn't trim the chassis in Japan for hardness, but for drivability. Yes, he rolls almost comfortably over the desolate asphalt, where the following applies: the faster, the fewer shocks hit the spinal cord. And yet it's not too soft for the race track.

Race track? Goes!


Don't you think so? Well, helmet on then. Because they are really serious about the trackday wheel set in the trunk at GR. What was already indicated on the country road catches you a little unprepared with a long press on "track mode": On the short start-finish of the Spanish provincial course, the boxer pushes as best he can. Whereby he never comes close to the possible 226 km/h Vmax until the end. You anchor late for that; much later than with more powerful sports cars. Yes, you intuitively set braking points correctly. Because the minimalist 294 millimeter steel discs can be finely dosed without making the 1.3 tons sweat.

GR-agile curve artist

The bonsai racer fillets vertices with its razor-sharp 13.5 : 1 electric power steering, which only needs 2.5 turns from lock to lock. Thanks to the strikingly shaped fenders, you always know exactly how far the front wheels are from the curb. The almost perfectly balanced two-plus-two-seater (front 53 to 47 percent rear) remains almost always neutral. The front axle never slips away from you. On the contrary: it always catches you. Of course, because instead of non-stick energy-saving tires like the predecessor, the 18-inch, fine-spoked light metal tires are 215 Michelin Sport 4.

In addition, there is much less movement in the body, which is now 50 percent stiffer with harder steel and additional struts. The remarkable thing is that the GR86 is said to have only gotten a touch heavier. And really: The coupé feels even lighter than the data sheet promises at 1275 kilograms. It scurries around tight corners with extreme agility, but always has enough pull on the chain to actively steer with the rear axle, which is locked by the Torsen diff.

The rear wheels still struggle for stability when accelerating out of corners. The driver models the drift angle at all times: depending on whether you want to be fast or just enjoy driving sideways. You quickly mutate into a drift king, as if you were synchronously drifting alongside Travis Pastrana in the sister model BRZ on YouTube, which is not even available in this country.

And here we are at the end, before it really starts.Because the annual production of the GR86 for 2022 was sold out within two weeks. A few of the 600 copies could still be at one of the 75 GR dealers. By March 2024, as many more will be added. Then the new CO2 output stage turns off the tap on the vacuum cleaner. The rule of thumb is: first come, first served... namely black lines on the asphalt.


What fun! Real, unadulterated, light-footed driving fun! And you're never over the limit, at least on the country road, not even the speed limit. The GR 86 is one of the last coupés that used to be almost everything better: stronger, stiffer and more agile, it will not make more than 1,200 customers in Germany happy.


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