Toyota Gazoo Racing Debuts New GR 86 Multi-Use Sports Car

Ken Zino of on Toyota Gazoo Racing Debuts New GR 86 Multi-use Sports Car

New Toyota GR 86Red Prototype, and Subaru BRZ. Click to Enlarge.

Toyota Gazoo Racing showed the new GR 86 its world debut during an online event held together with Subaru Corporation earlier today in Japan. Following the GR Supra and GR Yaris, the new GR 86 is the third global model in the GR series of sports cars.

The new GR 86 is scheduled to launch in Japan in autumn 2021. It’s plans for US sales are still unknown. But given the abandonment of Scion as a the fun Toyota youth brand, it’s almost a sure thing. (Toyota Pulls Plug on Scion Brand, Scion FR-S Morphs into Toyota 86)

Subaru is out front here. Subaru showed its US version of the 2022 BRZ last November. It will be the lightest rear-wheel drive 2+2 sports car in U.S. market when it enters production. The 2+2 seating and folding rear seats have a cargo area with space for carrying a mountain bike, golf clubs, or four race tires and tools for track days. Using aluminum for the roof, front fenders and hood, the 2022 Subaru BRZ has an estimated curb weight of just under 2,900 lbs. Prices for street versions will be in the $32,000-$36,000 range, AI guesstimates.

Ken Zino of on New Toyota GR 86 and Subaru BRZ

The Toyota GR 86 and Subaru BRZ (above) represent a big challenge for both companies, as they seek – says Toyota – to “subvert conventional ideas of cooperation in the automotive industry.” Translation –thorny branding issues remain, as always with the second versions.

Toyota developed the original GR 86 in conjunction Subaru – both with the goal of delivering sports cars to its customers. Conceived as a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicle – with corresponding handling of a low center of gravity and responsiveness from an under-powered 2.0-liter Subaru boxer engine. The Subaru launched BRZ in 2012 as a 2013 model. It was an attempt to follow Mazda’s Miata (MX-5) as a  small, light and besting sports car. Since then, the vehicles have been used as base models for a variety of participatory motorsports, including rallies, one-make races, gymkhana, and dirt trials, while others have been customized. A total of more than 200,000 GR86s have been sold worldwide, playing the role of reliable partners for their owners. (Subaru 2017 BRZ Priced at $26k to more than $30k)

In September 2019, Toyota and Subaru entered into a new business and capital alliance, part of which saw the two companies became more involved together in the making and selling sports cars. The new GR 86/BRZ represents a big challenge for both companies, as they seek – says Toyota – to “subvert conventional ideas of cooperation in the automotive industry.” Translation –thorny branding issues remain, as always. “Going forward, Toyota and Subaru intend to further ally their respective strengths, deepen their relationship, and so pursue the possibilities of making ever-better cars,” Toyota said.

The compact Subaru engine with a low center-of-gravity in line with previous iterations, now increases its displacement size from 2.0 to 2.4-liter. The engine delivers – it’s claimed – superior driving performance with a 0-100km/h acceleration in just 6.3 seconds, down from the 7.4 seconds of the outgoing model. The 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated engine redlines at 7,000 RPM and delivers a 15% increase in torque, Subaru said at its US introduction last year.

The 2022 BRZ will be offered in both Premium and Limited trims and is available with two transmission choices: standard six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic with a new Sport mode designed for more aggressive driving. The new Sport mode allows for more rapid downshifts with automatic throttle blipping –alas heel/toeing via software. It also uses yaw sensors to hold the transmission in a lower gear during hard cornering to maximize performance. The Toyota GR 86 has aerodynamic components seen on 86 models that participate in motorsports. These include air outlets and side-sill spoilers.

There are a lot of cost-saving carry over aspects in play. Dimensions of the new GR 86 are almost identical to the previous first gen model. Limiting both the overall height and hip-point of the vehicle helps lower the center-of-gravity and enhances turning performance – it also allows for the use of existing plants and tooling. The use of aluminum for the roof panels means a lower center-of-gravity, while aluminum fenders and updated front seats and mufflers contribute to reduced weight.

Body rigidity has been improved too, it’s claimed, with the goal of offering pleasurable handling in all speed ranges – from urban driving to the limits of track performance driving. Torsional rigidity has been enhanced by approximately 50% compared to the previous model for greater steering and overall stability.

The automatic transmission version of the GR 86 now uses Subaru’s EyeSight* Driver Assist Technology. This system of safety technologies provides help during everyday driving; pre-collision safety technologies that help avoid or reduce collision impacts; and emergency rescue support and secondary collision avoidance support in the event of an accident.

* EyeSight is a registered trademark of Subaru Corporation

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