Success in the automotive industry can be a two-edged sword. On the one hand,
limited market performance of a new model can create the need for a mid-cycle
boost or two; on the other, immediate sales success leaves the product much as it

The Toyota GR86 sports coupe is of the latter, being the third model, after the GR
Supra and GR Yaris, to benefit directly from Toyota’s multi-championship-winning
involvement in international motorsport with Toyota Gazoo Racing. It has some
catching up to do.

Evolving from the original 86, launched in Australia in 2012 signalling Toyota’s
renewed commitment to sports-car engineering, the classic front-engine / rear drive
coupe has gone on to sell almost 22,000 vehicles in the past 10 years.

Now the GR86, says Toyota, builds on this heritage with improved performance,
dynamics, technology and styling, while retaining the affordability and usability of its
predecessor. There’s no doubting the engineering advances over the original. The
GR86 auto will hit 100 km/h in 6.8  seconds, according to the maker.

However, there are some question marks against the pricing and comfort and
convenience of the new car. The GR86 comes in two grades GT and GTS in manual
and automatic versions. The new GR86 is priced at $43,240, plus on-road costs, for
the GT with the GTS (the test vehicle) costing $45,390, more than $8000 over the
previous model (from $32,180).

As for comfort and convenience, getting in and out of the car can be fraught. Not
only is the vehicle close to the ground, the two doors, on the wide side to allow entry
to the back seats, has limited opening in tight spots found in modern public parking,
requiring a degree of suppleness not found in the mature human frame.

The GR86 is covered by Toyota Warranty Advantage, offering five-year unlimited
kilometre coverage extending to seven-years on engine and driveline, with capped-
price servicing for the first five years or 75,000 km and each 12-month / 15,000m
service costing $280.

On the outside, the GR86 retains the outgoing model’s sporty shape and proportions,
while Toyota Gazoo Racing’s global motorsport input has added cooling and
aerodynamic improvements with a 0.276 coefficient of drag.

Longer and lower than the previous 86, the new GR86 features a long bonnet,
sloping roofline and tapered rear end with a prominent lip spoiler, giving the vehicle a
low, planted stance.

The GTS has the advantage of intelligent adaptive LED headlights with auto-levelling
and headlamp cleaner, LED daytime running lights and rear fog lights. Dual exhaust
pipes and GR badging front and rear, plus 18-inch black alloy wheels with
215/40R18 tyres, complete the sporty look.

The new GR86 is offered in two trim levels, the GT featuring black fabric upholstery,
while the GTS wears two-tone Ultrasuede and leather-accented upholstery in
black/silver or black/red. While offering four sports-style deep-set seats, the coupe is
strictly a 2+2, with rear leg room something of a myth, even with average-size adults
in the front.

The 237 litres of luggage space is enough, Toyota claims, to carry four spare wheels
for a day of circuit driving, when the rear seats are folded, or to take luggage for a
weekend away.

All variants feature an upgraded 8-inch multimedia infotainment system with DAB+
digital radio and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The screen is
mated with a configurable 7-inch TFT colour LCD display with a Track Mode,
designed with help from Toyota Gazoo Racing’s professional drivers, to provide real-
time readouts for circuit driving.

The six-speaker audio system is boosted by Active Sound Control for quality sound
reproduction, hence occupant enjoyment.

Powering the GR86 is a new 2.4-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine
producing a maximum of 174 kW and 250 Nm, at least 22 kW and 38 Nm over the 2-
litre motor it takes over from. Pairing with the unit are either a six-speed manual or
six-speed torque-converter automatic, with the latter featuring paddle shifters and a
range of drive modes to tailor performance to driver preferences.

Straight-line acceleration is also improved, with the GR86 automatic able to sprint
from zero to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds.

Standard equipment across the range includes seven airbags, reversing camera with
dynamic guidelines, ABS brakes, vehicle stability control, tyre pressure warning and
front/rear seatbelt warnings.

Automatic models add more active safety equipment including pre-collision braking
with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, parking support brake with rear
parking sensors, active cruise control, and lane departure alert. GTS grades further
add rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitor.

The naturally aspirated boxer engine provides linear throttle response and the ability
to rev effortlessly up scale, with technologies including optimised D4-S direct
injection helping to provide significantly more torque for better mid-range response.

With pleasant memories of the original 86, frankly, I would have traded in the auto
transmission of the test vehicle for the six-speed manual any day. More fun.

Toyota advises premium unleaded fuel and claims a combined urban / highway
consumption of 8.8 litres per 100 kilometres. The test car recorded 10.7 litres per
100 kilometres in city traffic and 4.9 litres per 100 kilometres on the motorway.

Multiple advances have been made under the skin, including revisions to the
suspension and steering, with larger-diameter front brakes and chassis
reinforcements that significantly improve torsional and lateral rigidity.

A focus on weight reduction and a lower centre of gravity result in sharper agility,
handling and responsiveness. A limited-slip Torsen differential on the rear axle is
designed to maximise handling.

Those wanting to take their GR86 to the track can also choose from five different
vehicle stability control settings ranging from full on to being completely switched off.

As a gent of a certain age, the GR(-ed) Toyota 86, from the beginning, presented a
few challenges. For a start there was the wallet-stripping price increase, then the
need for contorted entry and exit to the extra-low slung seating and finally, a smooth,
if uninspiring, automatic driving experience. I’ll leave this one to cosseted grandkids.

Looks: 8/10
Performance: 7/10
Safety: 7/10
Thirst: 5/10
Practicality: 4/10
Comfort: 5/10
Tech: 7/10
Value: 7/10


Toyota GR86 GT Manual and Automatic: $43,240
Toyota GR86 GTS Manual and Automatic: $45,390
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact
your local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota GR86 GTS automatic 2.4L 4-cylinder petrol, 6sp
automatic, RWD Coupe)
Capacity: 2.387 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders horizontally opposed
Maximum Power: 174 kW @ 7000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 250 Nm @ 3700 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 98 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.8 L/100km
Emissions CO2: 201g/km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed electronically controlled automatic, rear-wheel drive

Length: 4265 mm
Wheelbase: 2575 mm
Width: 1775 mm
Height: 1310 mm
Turning Circle: 11.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1312 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *