Right here’s a pleasant surprising Easter Egg from Toyota: the brand new GR 86. Sure, GR 86. Not GT86.
That’s not a boozy financial institution holiday-induced typo both. See, that single keyboard key slip and smash of the house bar brings the brand new 86 in keeping with Toyota’s different Gazoo Racing (GR) brethren; hopping on the again of the performance-orientated conga line behind the GR Supra and GR Yaris.
However this new 86 could be very a lot a successor in all however identify to the incredible driver-focused, rear-wheel-drive skinny-tyred and extremely amusing GT86 sports activities automobile we topped High Gear’s Automotive of The 12 months in 2012. As soon as once more, it’s been performed in collaboration with Subaru, utilizing the identical chassis and engine as the brand new BRZ. Nonetheless, this time we received’t be capable of purchase the BRZ in Europe – so it’s GR 86 or nothing for us lot.
The titchy 2+2 is now powered by a much bigger 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated flat-four ‘boxer’ engine fairly than the outdated 2.0-litre unit. Nonetheless, the GR 86 bucks the development of automobiles getting greater as time passes. It shares precisely the identical lithe dimensions because the GT86 (4,265mm lengthy, 1,310mm excessive, with a wheelbase of 2575mm) and weighs in at 1,270kg – 50kg heavier than the unique. However there’s a brand new aluminium roof and physique panels to try to maintain a lid on that bloat.
It’s additionally 50 per cent stiffer within the wobbly bits, with torsional rigidity improved with an upgraded chassis, extra strengthening within the panels and even stronger bonding methods to enhance the physique shell’s stiffness. This could deliver even higher dealing with, an space the place the GT86 all the time excelled.
Not having any type of pressured induction, just like the outdated engine, you’re going to be a automobile you’ll need to rev the knackers off to get the efficiency. However energy is up, coming in at 232bhp and 184lb ft (up from 197bhp and 151lb ft within the outdated automobile) so adequate for a 0-62mph time of 6.3seconds (1.1secs faster than its predecessor) however peak energy is served all the way in which round at 7,000rpm. Wonderful.
This grunt might be dished out to the rear wheels through a typical six-speed handbook or elective automated gearbox then divided once more by a limited-slip differential. Which can assist with dealing with (trusty MacPherson struts are as soon as once more used for the entrance suspension, with double wishbones on the rear) and any-speed engagement – precisely what the outdated automobile was incredible at delivering. However because of a trusty digital microscope, we will see that the brand new GR 86 is sporting stickier, extra sporting Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres. So you’ll have to work a bit more durable when getting the again out than the outdated automobile’s eco Prius tyres.
As you may see, the automobile’s styling has been softened and is all however an an identical twin to the BRZ. On the entrance, there’s much more curvaceous and feline face, with the headlights and daytime operating lights being fairly related in form and smoothness to the unique Jaguar F-Kind. No unhealthy factor.
However there’s additionally bigger entrance intakes – apparently learnings from Toyota’s motorsport actions. The GT86’s taught and sporty sculpted roof stays, whereas the brand new hind lights are extra angular and have a touch of Honda NSX to them. Once more, no unhealthy factor. There’s additionally a black plastic pseudo diffuser that homes two exhausts at both finish.
Inside, it’s the alternative of the huge screens and haptic buttons of contemporary cockpits. This one – as soon as once more – is all concerning the driver. It’s very, very related in structure and design to the final era. The easy steering wheel is a bit fussier with extra buttons splattered throughout it however there’s a brand new digital central binnacle (an analogue rev counter would have been good) with all the information you’ll want and a barely bigger seven-inch central show.
Annoyingly, a UK and European launch date have but to be confirmed for the GR 86. Gross sales in Japan will begin within the Autumn, so we’d count on to see it over right here on the finish of the 12 months or early 2022 for round £30k.
However the reality this automobile is being constructed is a minor miracle in itself and we fanatics needs to be grateful. Upcoming laws plus the societal, political and environmental pressures being placed on automobile firms make a rear-wheel drive, stick shift, naturally aspirated sports activities automobile (that solely bought 7,500 items over one of the best a part of 9 years on sale right here within the UK) a tough promote. But it surely additionally proves, that like us, Akio Toyoda most bloody love driving. So we salute Toyota for persevering with to construct automobiles for individuals who see automobiles as one thing greater than a method from getting from A to B. Given how rapidly issues are transferring within the EV world, by the top of this 12 months, this automobile might style even sweeter. Convey it on.