Toyota’s entry-level sports car has been given an upgrade for 2021, with a new name, new engine and more performance.
Now called GR 86 rather than GT86 – the firm’s sporting models are built by its Gazoo Racing division, so these cars get the GR moniker – it has again been built in collaboration with Subaru.
The GR 86 retains the same front engine, rear-wheel-drive layout that served the previous model well, but the engine is now a 2.4-litre unit making 232bhp and 249Nm of torque (up from 197bhp and 205Nm).
It’s a ‘boxer’ four-cylinder design from Subaru, and remains a naturally aspirated unit, resisting the temptation of switching to turbochargers for the extra performance.
Toyota reckons it will be the lightest four-seater sports car in its class, with weight-saving initiatives including the use of aluminium for the roof and body panels.
The GR 86 has almost identical proportions to the old model and retains its low centre of gravity for agile handling, which has been helped by a 50 per cent increase in torsional rigidity.
Aerodynamic components fitted to the exterior are functional, having been designed with help from Toyota’s motorsport teams, including the front air ducts and side rocker panels.
The interior appears to have received minimal improvements, with a very similar design to before but with improved material quality. There are large climate control dials, leather on the gear shift gaiter and steering wheel, and a small touchscreen infotainment system.
The Toyota GR 86 will go on sale in Japan in the autumn, so it’s likely it will go on sale in most other markets before the end of the year.