2022 Toyota GR86 – Track Tested

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As the owner of a first generation Toyota 86, I had a 2013 Scion FR-S, I was really looking forward to driving the second generation 2022 Toyota GR (as in Gazoo Racing) 86 which launched last year. To add icing on the cake, we are testing this beautiful looking Track bRed red GR86 at the 2.8 kilometre, 1.8 mile, Driver Development Track road course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, about an hour east of Toronto, Ontario. Our first impressions and driving experience did not disappoint. But first, a little history.

FIRST DECADE OF THE TOYOTA 86 As most automotive enthusiasts are aware, the Toyota 86 made its debut at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. The classic sports car layout features a low-mounted 4 cylinder horizontally-opposed boxer engine up front, with drive sent to the rear wheels via a 6 speed manual or automatic transmission. It was the birth child of a Toyota and Subaru collaboration. The Toyota version of the 86 appeared on North American shores in 2013 as a Scion FR-S, F for Front engine, R for Rear-wheel drive and S for Sport. More than 200,000 of these first generation cars have been sold globally. Few cars have had as many names as Toyota’s version of this car. They include the 86, GT86, FT86, the aforementioned FR-S and now, the GR86. All of these cars, regardless of their names, have been built by Subaru at their Gunma Plant in Japan. Subaru’s version is called the BRZ.
2022 GR 86 Being underpowered was probably number one on the 86s hit list. The first generation car has a 2.0 litre naturally aspirated engine that generates 200 hp @ 7000 rpm and 151 lb-ft of torque @ 6600 rpm. The second generation engine has grown by 20% in displacement to 2.4 litres. Horsepower has increased by 14% to 228 hp @ 7000 rpm. What is really appreciated is the 22% bump in torque which has increased to 184 lb-ft @ 3700 rpm, up from 151 lb-ft. A bigger engine with more power results in a drop of about half a second with 0-60 mph taking around 6 seconds when equipped with the 6 speed manual. The 6 speed automatic transmission version, with paddle shifters, runs to 60 mph in about 6.6 seconds, according to the manufacturer.
Thankfully the weight increase from generation to generation is relatively modest. The 2013 Scion FR-S weighed in at just 2737 pounds, which really helps this car feel light on its feet. By comparison, a 2022 Ford Mustang weighs about 3500 pounds. The weight increase for the 2022 GR86 is just 2.7% to 2811 pounds for the manual and 2868 pounds for the automatic. Manufacturing the roof panels and fenders out of aluminum helps contribute to the cars light weight and low centre of gravity. Rear seats work best when folded down to increase truck storage capacity. Occupying them really isn’t an option for anyone larger than a breadbox. They are so small. But with the rear seats down, the GR86 has lots of usable storage space for a small performance car. Two of us took our Scion FR-S on numerous road trips and really appreciated the ability to load the trunk with luggage and gear. As Toyota say, with the seats down, there’s room in the back for a set of track day tires. We were advised by the manufacturer that this GR86 is a prototype vehicle so the fit and finish may not be representative of the production vehicle. We saw no such fit and finish issues. The interior, and exterior, have evolved very nicely with this second generation car. The GR86 equipped with the 6 speed automatic transmission uses Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist Technology which includes pre-collision safety technologies to assist the driver and help avoid collisions.
ON THE TRACK The 86’s handling has always been its raison d'être, and this second generation sports coupe takes that one step further. The torsional rigidity of the 2022 GR86 body has been improved by 50% over the first generation contributing to the car’s increased steering stability. Aerodynamic components on the new GR86 were developed from the race track and include air outlets, side sill spoilers and other aerodynamic elements. Out on the track the GR86 provides the driver with a very solid, predictable and rewarding lapping experience. The second gen car accelerates and brakes better than the first gen. Its handling and cornering characteristics were what you would hope for. The brakes on our car were very firm and required a great deal of peddle pressure, which felt racecar like. It is equipped with 2-piston steel floating-caliper front disc brakes and 11.6-in. (294 mm.) ventilated rotors up front and 1-piston steel floating-caliper rear disc brakes and 11.4-in. (290 mm.) solid rotors in the rear. On the road and the track, the new GR86 doesn’t disappoint. It really does everything so nicely and provides the driver with a really enjoyable track day experience. The 86 has always been a good car to become acquainted with track days because they handle well and aren’t over powered. Too much horsepower can get inexperienced drivers into a lot of trouble.
OUR TAKE

The 2022 Toyota GR86 should tick a lot of boxes for sportscar enthusiasts. It’s reasonably priced, looks great, handles well, and offers more performance over the prior generation car. When you get behind the wheel, fire up the engine, engage the clutch and click this short throw manual shifter into first gear, you feel like you’re nestled in a performance car that’s ready, willing and able to perform.

  • 2022 Toyota GR86 6 speed manual transmission from CAD$31,490
  • 2022 Toyota GR86 6 Speed automatic with paddle shifters from CAD$33,890
  • 2022 Toyota GR86 Premium 6 speed manual transmission from CAD$34,490
  • 2022 Toyota GR86 Premium 6 automatic transmission from CAD$36,890. If you check all of the boxes, the price rises to CAD$42,455 plus all applicable fees and taxes.

Canadian and US pricing and details for the 2022 Toyota GR86 can be found at the Toyota Canada or Toyota USA websites.

Photographs © Copyright 2021 oneword Photography and TrackWorthy

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