New Toyota GR86 unveiled: son of GT86

Published: 05 April 2021

► New Toyota GR86 sports car unveiled
► Japanese car shown, Europe-bound too
Takes over where the GT86 left off

The new 2021 Toyota GR86 coupe is here, ready to replace the GT86 that rekindled Toyota's interest in sports cars back in 2012. That car was backed by company president Akio Toyoda, who has pushed the Gazoo Racing sports car division up the agenda at the hitherto conservative Japanese car maker, paving the way for the new GR Supra and Yaris

The new GR86 badge falls in line with the latest corporate branding and follows the well-proven technical formula for sports cars: it's rear-wheel drive, sticks with a Subaru-sourced naturally aspirated boxer engine configuration (now swollen to 2.4 litres and revving to 7400rpm) and prefers a less-is-more approach to equipment and kerbweight. That's fine by us...

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A lightweight sports car? How heavy is the Toyota GR86?

It weighs in at an impressively lithe 1270kg (a regular 718 Cayman weighs 1335 kilos these days, remember), and Toyota promises much of that weight is carried low down, for a ground-hugging centre of gravity. That horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine helps here and aluminium is used extensively in the bodywork and roof section.

New 2021 Toyota GR86 sports car

The GR86's dimensions closely shadow those of the GT86, at 4265mm long, 1775mm wide and 1310mm tall. Toyota claims a 50% boost in stiffness, giving the chassis a high resistance to twist and boding well for suspension dynamics.

It all sounds like the back-to-basics DNA that so charmed us on the original GT86 is alive and kicking. Even the wheels are modest 18-inch rims, requiring delightfully small 215-section tyres. Less is definitely more here.

Other key Toyota GR86 specs for the Japanese domestic market (JDM) include: 

  • Engine: 2387cc four-cylinder, DOHC, Toyota D-4S direct injection
  • Power/torque: 232bhp/184lb ft
  • 0-62mph time: 6.3sec (1.1sec faster than the GT86 )
  • Suspension: MacPherson struts (front), double wishbones (rear)
  • Brakes: Ventilated discs front and rear
  • Tyres: 215/40 R18

No Euro performance figures and specs are available yet, but Toyota vows: 'An increase in displacement to 2.4 litres brings a step-up in performance from the 2.0-litre unit in the GT86.'

toyota gr86 interior

Few surprises inside the cabin: this is a focused, simple, very Japanese interior: it won't win any prizes for creativity and we'll have to withhold judgment on plastics quality until we've sat in it - but we somehow just know it'll likely put function over form, even without having experienced it first-hand. 

No word yet on likely pricing for the Toyota GR86, but we'd wager it'll continue in the same ballpark as the GT86. Count on around £29,000 when UK specs and details are announced later in 2021.

How successful was the Toyota GT86?

The coupe segment has been shrinking globally, but Toyota spotted the potential for brand-building and excitement generation with the GT86. It has sold more than 200,000 models worldwide in the past nine years, around 7500 in the UK.

gr86 brz

The new GR86 is again twinned with the latest Subaru BRZ (above), but this time the Scooby won't be offered in Europe. The economies of scale are what enable a relatively modest-selling sports car to make it to production - and will also mean that the Toyota benefits from tech such as Subaru's Eyesight safety systems and a choice of manual or automatic transmissions. 

Here's hoping the GR86 lives up to boss Toyoda's mantra for its predecessor: 'If it’s not fun to drive, it’s not a car.'

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet