Toyota GR 86 (2022) - First test!

Yasunori Suezawa, the chief engineer of the GR 86, and his team deserve the highest praise for the balanced distribution of power from 53 to 47, for the direct steering. The fabulous handling is also worth highlighting, as is the well-balanced chassis. This car wants to play and have fun.   After the track, return quieter at 130 km / h on the motorway. The opportunity to wonder what the optional six-speed automatic transmission looks like. Our American colleagues (the GR 86 is already available there) report that it is rather successful.  But why ask the question? The manual shifter is nice with its short stroke, but it's a bit imprecise and doesn't quite live up to MX-5 standards. But it's a question of taste. Note that Toyota has not equipped its model with excessive assistance. Keeping the track? The blind spot warning? Nothing of that. Superfluous.  Launch and price The GR 86 with its 18 inch wheels is sharp, but not in a bad way. Most importantly, the engine now pulls cleanly forward in upshifts, even at low speeds. No turbo kick in the butt, but no air pump either. The Toyota spreads the butter on the bread in a beautifully linear fashion. Delicious.  The only drawback: while Japan and the United States are already benefiting from the GR 86, we in Europe will have to wait until spring 2022, probably until May. Toyota remains discreet on prices. However, between 30,000 and 33,000 euros are mentioned as the base price. What remains much cheaper than the new BMW 2 Series Coupé .  Conclusion: The genuine pleasure of driving is becoming increasingly rare. Or it is unaffordable. Those who love the Mazda MX-5 but lack space and performance will appreciate the GR 86. An analog car in the digital age. We love him despite, or perhaps because of his wild character.

We are probably the last generation who can still buy new cars "old fashioned". By that is meant with an internal combustion engine, manual transmission and even rear wheel drive.

And Toyota is preparing to serve a perfectly well-prepared dish to fans of this mode of transport: number 86, Waku Doki.

Presentation of the GR 86

Waku-what? Well, behind that name is the new GR 86 aka "the Waku Doki sports car". That could be roughly translated as "a sports car for the pleasure of driving". And that's no exaggeration, since its predecessor, the GT86 , was already a pleasure to drive. But is this successor making up for its greatest weaknesses? To be sure, we were able to get behind the wheel of this GR 86, still camouflaged because it was a pre-production car.

With the change of name to GR, the new 86 joins the ranks of GR Yaris and GR Supra . On the optical level, Toyota proceeded in the same way as Porsche with the 911: no revolution, rather an evolution. Some observers even wonder where the differences lie with the predecessor. But there are: at the front, the hood with striking curves remains, the new front face with its LED headlights could for its part recall the Porsche 718 Cayman and Alpine A110.

Yasunori Suezawa, the chief engineer of the GR 86, and his team deserve the highest praise for the balanced distribution of power from 53 to 47, for the direct steering. The fabulous handling is also worth highlighting, as is the well-balanced chassis. This car wants to play and have fun.   After the track, return quieter at 130 km / h on the motorway. The opportunity to wonder what the optional six-speed automatic transmission looks like. Our American colleagues (the GR 86 is already available there) report that it is rather successful.  But why ask the question? The manual shifter is nice with its short stroke, but it's a bit imprecise and doesn't quite live up to MX-5 standards. But it's a question of taste. Note that Toyota has not equipped its model with excessive assistance. Keeping the track? The blind spot warning? Nothing of that. Superfluous.  Launch and price The GR 86 with its 18 inch wheels is sharp, but not in a bad way. Most importantly, the engine now pulls cleanly forward in upshifts, even at low speeds. No turbo kick in the butt, but no air pump either. The Toyota spreads the butter on the bread in a beautifully linear fashion. Delicious.  The only drawback: while Japan and the United States are already benefiting from the GR 86, we in Europe will have to wait until spring 2022, probably until May. Toyota remains discreet on prices. However, between 30,000 and 33,000 euros are mentioned as the base price. What remains much cheaper than the new BMW 2 Series Coupé .  Conclusion: The genuine pleasure of driving is becoming increasingly rare. Or it is unaffordable. Those who love the Mazda MX-5 but lack space and performance will appreciate the GR 86. An analog car in the digital age. We love him despite, or perhaps because of his wild character.

At the rear, the license plate has been moved down. Overall, the GR 86 looks stockier, or to put it in a politically incorrect way: more masculine.

Let's take a look at the most important key data: 4.26 meters long, 1.77 meters wide, 1.31 meters high, plus a wheelbase of 2.57 meters. Compared to the GT86, few changes in this area, 10 millimeters less here, five there. The general dimensions remain the same.

The curb weight is 1275 and 1314 kilograms, depending on the equipment, which is 20 kg less than before. The use of high tensile steel makes the body more rigid, the center of gravity is 1.5 millimeters lower. 17-inch tires are standard, 18-inch tires are optional. And for those who are interested, the trunk offers 226 liters of volume.

The interior is still dominated by rather poor plastic, but it was a pre-production vehicle. So to see how the production version will be. The leather enhances the ambiance, the controls now seem more modern, Android Auto is included, not to mention a digital speedometer. But in the case of the GR 86, it still means the charm of the 90s, where the 80s reigned in the GT86. And the (emergency) seats in the rear remain a better storage space than real seats. The handbrake? Manual, of course!   

Yasunori Suezawa, the chief engineer of the GR 86, and his team deserve the highest praise for the balanced distribution of power from 53 to 47, for the direct steering. The fabulous handling is also worth highlighting, as is the well-balanced chassis. This car wants to play and have fun.   After the track, return quieter at 130 km / h on the motorway. The opportunity to wonder what the optional six-speed automatic transmission looks like. Our American colleagues (the GR 86 is already available there) report that it is rather successful.  But why ask the question? The manual shifter is nice with its short stroke, but it's a bit imprecise and doesn't quite live up to MX-5 standards. But it's a question of taste. Note that Toyota has not equipped its model with excessive assistance. Keeping the track? The blind spot warning? Nothing of that. Superfluous.  Launch and price The GR 86 with its 18 inch wheels is sharp, but not in a bad way. Most importantly, the engine now pulls cleanly forward in upshifts, even at low speeds. No turbo kick in the butt, but no air pump either. The Toyota spreads the butter on the bread in a beautifully linear fashion. Delicious.  The only drawback: while Japan and the United States are already benefiting from the GR 86, we in Europe will have to wait until spring 2022, probably until May. Toyota remains discreet on prices. However, between 30,000 and 33,000 euros are mentioned as the base price. What remains much cheaper than the new BMW 2 Series Coupé .  Conclusion: The genuine pleasure of driving is becoming increasingly rare. Or it is unaffordable. Those who love the Mazda MX-5 but lack space and performance will appreciate the GR 86. An analog car in the digital age. We love him despite, or perhaps because of his wild character.

The most important component of this GR 86 coupe is the FA24. Behind it is the new 172 kW (234 hp) 2.4 liter boxer engine supplied by Subaru. Cousin BRZ also survives, but is not available for Europe.

Strictly speaking, the FA24 isn't that new: the naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer uses the cylinder block of its 2.0-liter predecessor, but the bore goes from 86 to 94 millimeters. The relatively high compression ratio of 12.5: 1 has been retained, and the steps taken are almost reminiscent of old-school settings: more displacement instead of a multitude of turbochargers. Therefore, the FA24 also needs to rev up, but there is no need to push it to the extreme to get significant torque.

This means that the red zone only starts at 7,500 rpm, but the 250Nm maximum torque already starts at 3,700 rpm instead of the GT86's 6,600. The "center tube" of the exhaust system, with a volume of 5.6 liters, which produces a rumble when accelerating, transmitted to the passenger compartment by means of the "Active Sound Control", seems rather superfluous. . Either an engine chimes or it does not chime. 

Yasunori Suezawa, the chief engineer of the GR 86, and his team deserve the highest praise for the balanced distribution of power from 53 to 47, for the direct steering. The fabulous handling is also worth highlighting, as is the well-balanced chassis. This car wants to play and have fun.   After the track, return quieter at 130 km / h on the motorway. The opportunity to wonder what the optional six-speed automatic transmission looks like. Our American colleagues (the GR 86 is already available there) report that it is rather successful.  But why ask the question? The manual shifter is nice with its short stroke, but it's a bit imprecise and doesn't quite live up to MX-5 standards. But it's a question of taste. Note that Toyota has not equipped its model with excessive assistance. Keeping the track? The blind spot warning? Nothing of that. Superfluous.  Launch and price The GR 86 with its 18 inch wheels is sharp, but not in a bad way. Most importantly, the engine now pulls cleanly forward in upshifts, even at low speeds. No turbo kick in the butt, but no air pump either. The Toyota spreads the butter on the bread in a beautifully linear fashion. Delicious.  The only drawback: while Japan and the United States are already benefiting from the GR 86, we in Europe will have to wait until spring 2022, probably until May. Toyota remains discreet on prices. However, between 30,000 and 33,000 euros are mentioned as the base price. What remains much cheaper than the new BMW 2 Series Coupé .  Conclusion: The genuine pleasure of driving is becoming increasingly rare. Or it is unaffordable. Those who love the Mazda MX-5 but lack space and performance will appreciate the GR 86. An analog car in the digital age. We love him despite, or perhaps because of his wild character.

What sensations at the wheel?

In any case, the major asset of the Toyota GR 86 is not the soundtrack, but the driving experience. To this end, we have been authorized to drive the pre-production car at the Castelloli circuit, near Barcelona. Hands on the small, easy-to-grip leather steering wheel, and off you go. Better height adjustment would be nice for tall drivers, but on the other hand, you have an excellent view of the track thanks to a low dashboard and the curves above the headlights. Perfect conditions for turns.

In normal mode, the GR 86 gently moves its buttocks, to transform into a dog in front of its bowl once in track mode with strongly reduced ESP: the rear end shakes violently, the car is impatient to be thrown adrift in turn. 

But the GR 86 is not the kind of wild predator that wants your skin. He clings to the accelerator, claps wildly, roars but still remains your best friend. Even without too much experience we let the rear come in successfully, but we catch up without coming close to a heart attack. 

Yasunori Suezawa, the chief engineer of the GR 86, and his team deserve the highest praise for the balanced distribution of power from 53 to 47, for the direct steering. The fabulous handling is also worth highlighting, as is the well-balanced chassis. This car wants to play and have fun.   After the track, return quieter at 130 km / h on the motorway. The opportunity to wonder what the optional six-speed automatic transmission looks like. Our American colleagues (the GR 86 is already available there) report that it is rather successful.  But why ask the question? The manual shifter is nice with its short stroke, but it's a bit imprecise and doesn't quite live up to MX-5 standards. But it's a question of taste. Note that Toyota has not equipped its model with excessive assistance. Keeping the track? The blind spot warning? Nothing of that. Superfluous.  Launch and price The GR 86 with its 18 inch wheels is sharp, but not in a bad way. Most importantly, the engine now pulls cleanly forward in upshifts, even at low speeds. No turbo kick in the butt, but no air pump either. The Toyota spreads the butter on the bread in a beautifully linear fashion. Delicious.  The only drawback: while Japan and the United States are already benefiting from the GR 86, we in Europe will have to wait until spring 2022, probably until May. Toyota remains discreet on prices. However, between 30,000 and 33,000 euros are mentioned as the base price. What remains much cheaper than the new BMW 2 Series Coupé .  Conclusion: The genuine pleasure of driving is becoming increasingly rare. Or it is unaffordable. Those who love the Mazda MX-5 but lack space and performance will appreciate the GR 86. An analog car in the digital age. We love him despite, or perhaps because of his wild character.

And if you are looking to train to become a king of drifting, then this GR 86 is for you, especially since the 215/40 R18 tires of the test car will help you. And for professionals behind the wheel: ESP can also be completely deactivated.

Yasunori Suezawa, the chief engineer of the GR 86, and his team deserve the highest praise for the balanced distribution of power from 53 to 47, for the direct steering. The fabulous handling is also worth highlighting, as is the well-balanced chassis. This car wants to play and have fun. 

After the track, return quieter at 130 km / h on the motorway. The opportunity to wonder what the optional six-speed automatic transmission looks like. Our American colleagues (the GR 86 is already available there) report that it is rather successful.

Yasunori Suezawa, the chief engineer of the GR 86, and his team deserve the highest praise for the balanced distribution of power from 53 to 47, for the direct steering. The fabulous handling is also worth highlighting, as is the well-balanced chassis. This car wants to play and have fun.   After the track, return quieter at 130 km / h on the motorway. The opportunity to wonder what the optional six-speed automatic transmission looks like. Our American colleagues (the GR 86 is already available there) report that it is rather successful.  But why ask the question? The manual shifter is nice with its short stroke, but it's a bit imprecise and doesn't quite live up to MX-5 standards. But it's a question of taste. Note that Toyota has not equipped its model with excessive assistance. Keeping the track? The blind spot warning? Nothing of that. Superfluous.  Launch and price The GR 86 with its 18 inch wheels is sharp, but not in a bad way. Most importantly, the engine now pulls cleanly forward in upshifts, even at low speeds. No turbo kick in the butt, but no air pump either. The Toyota spreads the butter on the bread in a beautifully linear fashion. Delicious.  The only drawback: while Japan and the United States are already benefiting from the GR 86, we in Europe will have to wait until spring 2022, probably until May. Toyota remains discreet on prices. However, between 30,000 and 33,000 euros are mentioned as the base price. What remains much cheaper than the new BMW 2 Series Coupé .  Conclusion: The genuine pleasure of driving is becoming increasingly rare. Or it is unaffordable. Those who love the Mazda MX-5 but lack space and performance will appreciate the GR 86. An analog car in the digital age. We love him despite, or perhaps because of his wild character.

But why ask the question? The manual shifter is nice with its short stroke, but it's a bit imprecise and doesn't quite live up to MX-5 standards. But it's a question of taste. Note that Toyota has not equipped its model with excessive assistance. Keeping the track? The blind spot warning? Nothing of that. Superfluous.

Launch and price

The GR 86 with its 18 inch wheels is sharp, but not in a bad way. Most importantly, the engine now pulls cleanly forward in upshifts, even at low speeds. No turbo kick in the butt, but no air pump either. The Toyota spreads the butter on the bread in a beautifully linear fashion. Delicious.

Yasunori Suezawa, the chief engineer of the GR 86, and his team deserve the highest praise for the balanced distribution of power from 53 to 47, for the direct steering. The fabulous handling is also worth highlighting, as is the well-balanced chassis. This car wants to play and have fun.   After the track, return quieter at 130 km / h on the motorway. The opportunity to wonder what the optional six-speed automatic transmission looks like. Our American colleagues (the GR 86 is already available there) report that it is rather successful.  But why ask the question? The manual shifter is nice with its short stroke, but it's a bit imprecise and doesn't quite live up to MX-5 standards. But it's a question of taste. Note that Toyota has not equipped its model with excessive assistance. Keeping the track? The blind spot warning? Nothing of that. Superfluous.  Launch and price The GR 86 with its 18 inch wheels is sharp, but not in a bad way. Most importantly, the engine now pulls cleanly forward in upshifts, even at low speeds. No turbo kick in the butt, but no air pump either. The Toyota spreads the butter on the bread in a beautifully linear fashion. Delicious.  The only drawback: while Japan and the United States are already benefiting from the GR 86, we in Europe will have to wait until spring 2022, probably until May. Toyota remains discreet on prices. However, between 30,000 and 33,000 euros are mentioned as the base price. What remains much cheaper than the new BMW 2 Series Coupé .  Conclusion: The genuine pleasure of driving is becoming increasingly rare. Or it is unaffordable. Those who love the Mazda MX-5 but lack space and performance will appreciate the GR 86. An analog car in the digital age. We love him despite, or perhaps because of his wild character.

The only drawback: while Japan and the United States are already benefiting from the GR 86, we in Europe will have to wait until spring 2022, probably until May. Toyota remains discreet on prices. However, between 30,000 and 33,000 euros are mentioned as the base price. What remains much cheaper than the new BMW 2 Series Coupé .

Conclusion:

The genuine pleasure of driving is becoming increasingly rare. Or it is unaffordable. Those who love the Mazda MX-5 but lack space and performance will appreciate the GR 86. An analog car in the digital age. We love him despite, or perhaps because of his wild character.

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