Toyota launches significantly improved GR86

Latest Toyota GR86 treated to significant improvements

Reuben Van Niekerk
New Model
Toyota GR86
Toyota Gazoo Racing

Toyota has significantly updated their Toyota 86, while retaining the characteristics that define this vehicle and ensure that it offers pure unadulterated driving pleasure.

 Under the bonnet

Sticking to these characteristics means retaining the classic front engine, rear-wheel drive layout as well as a familiar boxer engine. However, the latest model has received a significant upgrade in this area with the addition of a larger displacement 2.4-litre power plant, enhanced dynamics thanks to increased body rigidity, lighter weight and lower centre of gravity as well as sharper aesthetics as a result of adopting motorsports-sourced aerodynamic features.

The GT86 is now fitted with a boxer engine with a capacity of 2.4 litres that offers 174kW at 7 000rpm and 250Nm at 3 700rpm. This allows the manual model to sprint from 0-100km/h in 6.4 seconds on its way to a top speed of 226km/h while the automatic model will take 6.8 seconds to reach 100km/h on its way to a top speed of 216km/h.

The exhaust produces an even more satisfying growl under acceleration and is augmented by an Active Sound Control system that transmits the sound of the engine to the cabin through a dedicated speaker in the centre of the instrument panel, with volume varying according to the drive mode selected.

The six speed manual transmission has been retained but has been significantly revised in line with the engine’s increased power and torque and is key to the car’s engaging driver appeal. The shift lever has been designed with a short, precise stroke and a snug fit in the driver’s hand.

Toyota are also catering for those drivers who prefer an automatic transmission, with the addition of an all-new six-speed automatic which offers a great balance between convenience while still being fun to drive. The electronically controlled, six-speed, intelligent automatic transmission features paddles for the driver to take over complete control of the gear shifts when the desire arises and its performance can be adapted via four different drive modes, with the transmission automatically selecting the optimum gear in line with the driver’s use of the brake and throttle and the vehicle’s dynamic behaviour.

While the chassis has been retained from the previous model, it too has been treated to a number of enhancements to ensure that it continues to offer precise handling and feedback of driver inputs. New, stronger, lightweight materials have been used strategically throughout the body structure, while the centre of gravity has been lowered, weight has been reduced and the front/rear weight balance has been optimised.

The rear Torsen limited-slip differential ensures reassuring traction when cornering and now features cooling fins to aid with heat dissipation.

The suspension layout remains unchanged with independent McPherson struts upfront and double wishbones at the rear, however they have been tuned for a higher level of responsive and stable handling, thanks in part to revised shock absorber damping and coil spring characteristics.

The GR86 features ventilated disc brakes front and rear, measuring 294 and 290mm in diameter respectively. ABS, Brake Assist, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and Hill-start Assist Control are provided as standard.

The vehicle stability control can be adjusted in five different modes to suit the driver’s preference or the driving conditions, which includes sport driving mode with no VSC support and traction control turned off.

Sporty iconic design

The design blends functionality and stylish looks, both of which are critical for a classic sports car such as the GR86. The evolution of the taut, low-slung look expresses its classic front engine, rear-wheel drive set up. Short overhangs add to the agile look, together with a wide and low stance. The front and rear wings and cabin are individually accentuated, generating the dynamic feel of an authentic sports car with inspirations from icons such as the 2000GT and AE86 Corolla.

The new parabola-shaped LED headlights have an internal L-shaped arrangement, while the grille features an exclusive mesh pattern. The front bumper has a new textured moulding that is functional as well as sporty. Together with the low set grille and front air ducts it forms a functional matrix grille that is a trademark design feature of Toyota’s GR models.

The side profile sees the powerful front wings and large rocker mouldings form side skirts, while the horizontally aligned underbody, running across the top of the wings and through the doorline, creates a strong front to rear posture. At the rear light clusters feature a strong three-dimensional form and blend into a garnish that runs across the width of the car. 18-inch anthracite rims round off the updated design.

 Inside story

The interior design aims to deliver the best possible layout for usability and operation while giving the driver the widest possible field of vision. Around the driver, function controls are designed and located for ease of use. Newly-shaped front sport seats feature supportive pads, which are independent of each other, ensuring a slim design and good retention of the driver and front passenger during sporty driving.

A faster, more powerful multimedia system with eight-inch display now features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The driver’s instrument display adapts according to the drive mode selected, which includes a racing car style read out when Track mode is selected.

Improved safety

The body structure features impact absorbing elements to soak up and channel forces in the event of an impact. A crush box structure has been adopted in front of the A-pillar and the reaction support components have been strengthened. Seven airbags are provided as standard including front, side and curtain shield airbags as well as a driver’s knee airbag.

The automatic derivative is also fitted with a safety and driver assistance package which ensures a high level of driver support with functions including a pre-crash system, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitor, lane departure alert, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam assist and collision mitigation braking.

Model line up

Toyota GR86 manual            R698 100

Toyota GR86 automatic        R733 700

All GR86 models are sold with a six-services/90 000km service plan and carry a three-year 100 00km warranty.