From now on, the Toyota 86 sports car will be called the GR 86. And as such, the 2022 Toyota GR 86 is the third vehicle to earn the Gazoo Racing (GR) badge after the GR Supra and GR Yaris hot hatchback, the latter of which we won’t be getting in America.
While we still can’t get over why Toyota insists on not bringing the GR Yaris to U.S. shores, we were left scratching our heads when Toyota insisted on delaying the 2022 GR 86’s debut a full five months after Subaru unveiled the next-gen BRZ. Remember, the Toyota GR 86 and Subaru BRZ are the same car underneath, but it seems Toyota took its sweet time in giving the GR 86 a distinctive driving feel.
2022 Toyota GR 86: What’s New Besides The Name Change?
If you’re familiar with the new Subaru BRZ, it’s not hard to discern what’s new about the 2022 Toyota GR 86. It now has a larger naturally aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four Boxer engine derived from the Subaru Ascent crossover, producing a healthy 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque. That’s 23 more horses and 28 additional lb-ft. of torque than the previous 2.0-liter flat-four.
As usual, all that power goes to the rear wheels via a standard six-speed manual gearbox. If you hate the thought of manually choosing gears and dealing with a trio of foot pedals, there’s an optional six-speed automatic to satisfy your whim.
For a car like the 2022 Toyota GR 86, it’s manual or nothing. But if you really like the automatic, Toyota will throw in Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance package and its plethora of hi-tech driving aids like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and pre-collision braking, to name a few.
We praise Toyota (and Subaru) for shoehorning a larger Boxer engine in its next-gen pocket rocket. Still, imagine what could have been if Toyota retained the turbocharger from the Ascent’s FA24 motor. If that’s the case, you would have 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft. of torque in a two-door sports car weighing no more than 2,799 lbs. (1,270 kg).
How Fast Is The 2022 Toyota GR 86?
Like the previous-gen car, the Toyota GR 86 is not about balls-out acceleration and top speed. But with its larger 2.4-liter Boxer engine, the 2022 GR 86 is quicker on the straights than ever before. It now scoots from zero to 60 in 6.3 seconds, almost a full second faster than the outgoing model.
Physically, the new Toyota GR 86 retains the compact dimensions of the previous 86. However, it now has an aluminum roof and fenders to reduce weight. Also, torsional rigidity is up by 50 percent over the old car to offer better handling and stability. And like the 2022 Subaru BRZ, the GR 86 has MacPherson front struts and a rear double-wishbone suspension.
The updated Toyota GR 86 bears similar design cues to the outgoing model, particularly in the rear quarter panels. It has newly designed front fenders that extend horizontally to the beltline of the vehicle. Also new is a GR-specific Matrix front grille and a striking set of new headlights and taillights. Also new is a lightweight aluminum muffler with dual exhaust tips.
Inside, the newest GR 86 has a similar cabin design to the Subaru BRZ. It has a seven-inch digital instrument cluster and an eight-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity.
2022 Toyota GR 86: Pricing & Availability
Pricing for the Toyota GR 86 remains forthcoming, but we reckon base prices will start around $32,000 when it arrives at U.S. dealerships near the end of 2021. However, it will first debut in its Japanese home market this autumn.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.