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In releasing the second generation of the renamed GR 86, Toyota has not forgotten its motoring roots or the incessant global fan base for small, moderately powered, rear-wheel drive sports cars.
By adding GR to the new 86’s name, Toyota also acknowledged the car’s motor racing connection and positions it in the growing stable of racing-bred and racing-destined sports cars – the GR Supra and GR Yaris.
Sitting almost in a class of its own, the GR 86 has become synonymous for a bygone era of analogue sports cars, when less was more and driver pleasure outweighed horsepower.
The new GR 86, revealed in Japan over Easter, adds substantial gains to performance, agility and stability which enhance the distinctive driving characteristics of the compact four-seater's classic front-engine, rear-drive layout.
A larger, more powerful engine, lightweight aluminium roof and fender panels as well as a stiffer body enhance the intuitive handling and intuitive responsiveness of the GR 86.
Its performance also benefits from aerodynamic components derived through motorsport, including air outlets, side-sill spoilers and other parts that improve steering responsiveness and stability.
Toyota New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Neeraj Lala, said the new GR 86 is yet another demonstration of the diversity of the Toyota range which ranges from small and large hybrid SUVs to twin-seat sports cars, and functional utes and vans.
“Whether you are a GR 86 fan or the proud owner of a 2021 Hilux, the ability of Toyota to put a smile on your face is never ceasing. In the past the 86 has offered great value for money for a sports car enthusiast wanting a dynamic and fun driving experience,” he says.
“Expect more GR models to be introduced in NZ over the next 18 months as we look to inject the perfect blend of high octane and low emission vehicles to our line-up”.
Since the 86 was first launched in New Zealand, Toyota has sold 709 units in various guises from entry level models to the higher specified GTs. All featured the 2.0 litre normally aspirated flat four boxer engine supplied by Subaru, which developed the 86 in partnership with Toyota.
Neeraj Lala says the continued development of the GR 86 with Subaru is another indicator of Toyota Motor Corporation’s willingness to partner and share development resources with other like-minded manufacturers.
In September 2019, Toyota and Subaru entered into a new business and capital alliance, as part of which the two companies committed to jointly engage in making ever-better cars. The new GR 86/BRZ is not only a concrete example of this commitment, but also represents a new challenge for both companies, as they seek to subvert conventional ideas of cooperation in the automotive industry.
In keeping with the winning formula of the original 86, the new GR 86 features a lightweight, horizontally opposed boxer engine with displacement increased from 2.0 to 2.4 litres.
The new powerplant - driven through a six-speed manual or automatic transmission - delivers superior driving performance and engine responsiveness with maximum power boosted to 173kW and torque to 250Nm1.
As a consequence, the engine delivers superior driving performance, achieving 0-100km/h acceleration in just 6.3 seconds―down from the 7.4 seconds of the outgoing model. Engine responsiveness has also been enhanced, providing smooth, stress-free sensations from low to high rpms.
Turning performance and handling agility are enhanced due to a lower centre of gravity, achieved by measures that include the adoption of lightweight aluminium roof panels and fenders, new front seats and redesigned mufflers.
Body dimensions are similar to the previous model, while torsional rigidity has been improved by approximately 50 per cent to deliver even greater steering stability.
The on-road presence of the GR 86 is accentuated by a GR-exclusive grille, fender tops that extend horizontally to the beltline, a low, horizontal underbody and a cabin that tapers towards the rear.
Inside, switches and controls are optimally arranged to create a space that enables the driver to concentrate on driving.
The instrument display features a screen with an opening animation inspired by the piston movements of the horizontally opposed engine.
1(Based on Japan market prototype specifications)
Note to editors:
The new GR 86 is scheduled to launch in Japan in autumn 2021. Toyota New Zealand is yet to confirm introduction timing of the GR 86 in New Zealand.