NINE MONTHS after the arrival of its twin-under-the-skin Subaru BRZ, the Toyota GR86 has arrived in Australia offering a moderately tweaked chassis and braking package – and a hefty price increase.
Available from $43,240 plus on-road costs – and again offered in GT and GTS trim – the second-generation ‘86’ is $2950 dearer than the BRZ, and a whopping $11,060 more than the entry price of the outgoing range.
To be fair, it is a greatly improved car, and includes a larger 2.4-litre engine developing 174kW and 250Nm, a 22kW/38Nm improvement over the 2.0-litre unit found in the outgoing range.
With a power-to-weight ratio of 135kW/tonne, the GR86 can accelerate from standstill to 100km/h in 6.3 seconds, or 1.8 seconds faster than the original. Automatic variants cover the standard in 6.8 seconds. The models’ top speed is listed at 226km/h.
Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are available across the range and are identically priced. A Torsen limited-slip differential also features as standard on both model grades.
ADR combined cycle fuel economy figures show the GR86 consumes 8.7 litres per 100km in GT automatic guide with the GTS manual a higher 9.5L/100km. CO2 emissions are listed from 199g/km to 217g/km respectively.
The only rear-drive rival to the GR86 – excusing the Subaru BRZ – is Mazda’s long-serving ND series MX-5. Available from $37,990 plus ORCs, the lightweight roadster delivers comparable dynamics and similar performance stats, the 2.0-litre-powered model making 135kW/205Nm for a power-to-weight ratio of 135kW/tonne – exactly the same as the GR86.
Toyota says that multiple other advances have been made beneath the skin of the GR86 including revisions to suspension and steering components, larger-diameter front brakes and chassis reinforcements that significantly improve torsional (+50%) and lateral (+60%) stability when compared with the outgoing model.
The Japanese importer said it focused on weight reduction in developing the new model, installing aluminium front guards, bonnet and roof skin, resin rocker covers, a lighter tail shaft and muffler, and slimmer seat brackets to shed mass. The new model also boasts a lower centre of gravity (+1.6mm) when compared with its predecessor.
Enthusiast drivers will also benefit from stickier Michelin tyres and five different stability control settings ranging from full support to completely off.
Toyota said it conjured design cues taken from some of its great past sports models including the 2000GT and AE86 Corolla in styling the GR86. An evolution of the outgoing model, the more aerodynamic newcomer (0.27Cd) is slightly longer (+25mm) and lower (-10mm) than the outgoing model and is also 5mm longer in wheelbase.
The model is defined by the typical long bonnet and sloping roofline of the original 86, with a more tapered rear, prominent lip spoiler, dual exhausts, GR badging and 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels, depending on model grade.
Like its forebear, the GR86 offers a driver-centric cockpit with an ergonomic layout. The dashboard includes a central, horizontally set 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with DAB+ reception, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, while the new 7.0-inch TFT digital instrument panel incorporates features – such as a lap timers and G meter – developed by Toyota Gazoo Racing drivers and engineers.
Safety equipment extends to seven airbags, a reversing camera, anti-lock brakes, stability control, tyre pressure warning, and front and rear seatbelt warning. Automatic models gain pre-collision braking with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, parking support brake with rear parking sensors, active cruise control and lane departure alert by virtue of the Subaru-developed EyeSight system.
GTS grades benefit further from rear cross-traffic alert and rear blind spot monitor.
Like all Toyota passenger models, the GR86 is backed by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. The engine and driveline are warranted for seven years. Capped price servicing is offered for the first five years or 75,000km of ownership with each 12-month/15,000km service capped to $280.
To find out how it all comes together, we put the GR86 through its paces at the world-famous Phillip Island circuit and nearby Bass Hills in southern Victoria.