Toyota GR86 – Everything You Need To Know

author avatarJoe Terrell
09/23/202023rd September, 2020
Filed under Car Guides

Is it turbocharged? AWD? Has it got a brand new powerplant? We’ll answer all of your Toyota GR86 questions in this comprehensive guide.

toyota gr86


Introduction

As you may well have already guessed, we’re HUGE fans of anything ’86’ related here at Drifted.

Since the original AE86 Corolla was the Drift King, Keiichi Tsuchiya‘s weapon of choice, his loyalty to the unique chassis proves just how highly regarded its reputation has become in the world of drifting.

The ’86’ platform has continued to live on to the present day, thanks to the launch of the GT86 successor in 2012.

drift king keiichi tsuchiya gt86

Toyota has now decided that it’s time to build upon the solid foundations that the GT86 has set by preparing to launch the new generation eight years after the GT86 and its twin brother, the BRZ, first stunned the market.

The GT86 has arguably provided us with the most incredible compact sports coupe of this decade, but now it’s time for it to move aside as the world prepares for the launch of the brand-new GR86.

Both Toyota and Subaru already confirmed in September 2019 that they’d continue their partnership alongside announcing the upcoming birth of their new twins.

Since then, ‘Toyobaru’ ceased production of the GT86 and the BRZ in August 2020, and it’s set the rumor mill alarm bells ringing in full-strength for what lies in wait.

After a year of rumors, leaks, and incomplete information, the picture is slowly becoming increasingly transparent on what we can expect from the new build.

The 2022 Toyota GR86 has recently been captured a few times in the wild, firstly on the streets of Ann Arbor in Michigan.

Although this may seem like a random location, it’s the home of Toyota’s North American engineering and prototype testing facility, which is known for its powertrain design and development, aswell as material research alongside other cutting-edge technologies.

full spy shot gr86

Thankfully, Instagram user Kystify had his camera ready to capture the camouflaged GR86 prototype as it drove past, providing the internet with its first glimpse of the new model.

Although it’s slightly blurred, and certainly not the best quality, it was enough to immediately debunk some of the rumors that the GR86 was likely to be built on the TNGA platform, with a revised version of the existing platform looking far more likely.

There’s been a lot of gossip surrounding the GR86’s name, and since their Toyota Gazoo Racing line becoming increasingly dominant, they’ll likely be playing a significant role in the production of the next-generation 86.

Having already produced the GR Supra, and with the imminent release of the GR Yaris, this comes as no surprise.

The GR link-up is exciting news for drifting, and with the GT86 already proving itself as an incredible platform for the sport, we’re feeling confident that Gazoo Racing’s additions could make this car even more sporty, dynamic, and refined than ever.

With Toyota’s boss, Akio Toyoda, continually pushing the brand towards the performance sector, it’s an exciting prospect that we could be moving in the right direction of the greatest 86 we’ve witnessed to date.

Initially, the GR influence looked to provide the perfect opportunity for the Toyota GR86 to finally introduce the forced induction potential that fans have been screaming out for since the day of the GT86’s release.

However, despite all the rumors, we’re sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but that’s unfortunately not looking likely this time around.

With that said, we certainly don’t expect the Toyota GR86 to be a disappointment overall.

With the 86’s near-flawless history, combined with the Gazoo Racing backing, there’s still heaps of potential to be had with a new sports coupe on the market.

render gr86

Toyota recently proved with the new Supra that they’re far from done with producing exciting cars, even if they did divide opinions with their inclusion of the BMW-based powerplant.

With Nissan recently confirming the upcoming 400Z, there’s an incoming rivalry emerging, and it’s once again looking like an exciting future for the market.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially cause unexpected hiccups, there could be severe delays to plans for both manufacturers, depending on how things play out long-term.

With any luck, we plan to see both cars competing on the market in 2022, with the GR86 expected to arrive earlier.

Let’s take a look at the confirmed facts alongside everything else you’re probably looking to find out about the upcoming Toyota GR86 release.


What To Expect From The Toyota GR86

Before we get started, let’s take a look at this video from Matt Moran Motoring, which includes the original GR86 ‘spy video’.

The first takeaway that enthusiasts noticed from the video was that it seems incredibly likely that they’ve integrated the same platform found on the GT86, as opposed to the strongly-rumored TNGA platform.

Now that we’ve got a disguised vision of what we can expect, there have also been a few vital facts confirmed in the past few months, which tell us a little more about what’s in store for the GR86.

Toyota GR86 Engine & Performance

If you’ve been following the rumors for the GR86, you’ll undoubtedly know that it was looking as though Toyota were ready to answer any 86’s enthusiasts prayers with the inclusion of a turbocharged engine, namely the FA24.

If this went ahead, it would provide the GR86 with 252hp and 200lb/ft torque, which is a substantial increase over the current 205hp and 156lb/ft torque of the final FA20D GT86’s to roll out of the factories.

Toyota has decided to kill any hope of this happening, declaring that they’ll continue to use the FA24 engine as planned (yay), but that they’re scrapping the idea of the turbocharger (nay).

gt86 mountain drift

So, this means they’ll likely be providing the GR86 with a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four engine with 217hp and 177lb/ft torque, which is a disappointing increase of just 12hp and 21lb/ft torque over the GT86’s capabilities.

The news has left us, among most 86 fans, disappointed as we felt it was the perfect opportunity for Toyota to finally provide the 86 platform the forced induction that it deserves.

Thankfully, the GT86 took kindly to both aftermarket turbo and supercharger kit upgrades. And, upon hearing this news, it’s likely to remain the best way to appreciate the 86 to its full potential anytime soon.

If you’re keen to explore the possibilities when it comes to forced induction on the GT86, then make sure you visit our turbocharger vs. supercharger guide, which will explain everything you could need to know.

Although Toyota may opt for a turbocharger further down the line, it will undoubtedly be quite some time away just yet.

Toyota GR86 Chassis, Drivetrain & Suspension

When the turbocharged rumors were still alive and well, they came alongside the stories of the GR86 integrating Toyota’s AWD TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform, which is now also confirmed to be a no-go.

Although this aspect was disappointing for many, mainly because they wrote off both this and the turbocharger in a single blow, as drift fans, we weren’t too upset about the rejected AWD rumors.

The GT86 quickly rose to fame in the drifting scene, with some of the best cars and drivers opting for its epic, convenient RWD platform.

Although AWD wouldn’t stop top-level competition drifters potentially converting their cars to RWD, it certainly would have presented a far more significant challenge.

Toyota has decided that both the TNGA-N and the Lexus LC 500’s TNGA-L platforms are supposedly too long to work alongside the GR86 plans, and the smaller TNGA-K and TNGA-C only support FWD or AWD setups.

Given this conclusion, it appears to have been the nail in the coffin for the potential TNGA platform integration, which came hand-in-hand with the OEM turbocharged dreams, for the time being at least.

On an extremely positive note – RWD remains, and it looks as though the ZN6 chassis is here to stay, which suits us just fine!

Toyota GR86 Design

Based on everything that’s leaked so far, it appears that the Toyota GR86 is going to look remarkably similar to its predecessor, with only minimal changes on the design-front, with some already classing it as a glorified facelift.

However, the GT86 was far from ugly, and we expect this to be a more refined, cleaner design, which is looking to be slightly chunkier, yet sleeker, and more planted.

One of the most noticeable changes is with the fenders, which look more expansive and also appear to feature vents for the first time, which somewhat resemble the Lexus F style.

rear spy shot gr86

The headlights look more flush with the body; the side skirts are a seemingly now a separate panel, and it also features stylishly designed vertical front bumper air inlets.

With the boot lid, they’ve opted for the duckbill spoiler, similar to the recent addition to the Supra, which could divide opinion on those who had hoped to have a more substantial wing, as they don’t often blend well.

There doesn’t appear to be any significant changes with the exhaust, which seems to be sporting similar tips with an updated muffler.

The brakes appear to be similar, if not the same, which supports the idea that the GR86 isn’t likely to receive a substantial amount added weight or vastly increased power.

We feel that there seems to a combined 2000GT and GR Supra influence with the design, which leaves us feeling both optimistic and excited about the finished product.

gr86 side profile spy shot

With any luck, the GR86 should look a little more terrifying in the rear-view mirror than its predecessor!

When it comes to wheels and tires, the test cars spotted so far have been wearing the 18-inch wheels found on the recently-announced GR Yaris, which appear to feature 225/40R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tires.

The new combination will please some enthusiasts since the GT86’s 17-inch wheels are often criticized for their lack of grip, and these look to be a little bigger and broader to match the TRD upgrade for the GT86.

Toyota GR86 Interior

When it comes to the interior, it’s usually the last thing to be confirmed. Some of the spy shots have the interior removed, so that hasn’t given away any indications.

The GT86’s basic infotainment system would undoubtedly benefit from an upgrade, so we’ll hopefully see a larger, modernized screen alongside the inclusion of possible additional luxuries such as Wi-Fi.

Toyota GR86 Safety

Although the GT86 was rather basic in the safety department, it’s likely that as with most modern cars, part of the focus will be on improving the safety of the GR86.

These features aren’t typically at the top of a motoring enthusiasts list, but we expect driver assistance features such as pedestrian detection, lane assist, and blind-spot detection.

As long as they can be easily turned off and won’t add too much weight to the car, then we’ll be happy!


Toyota GR86 Release Date & Price

Details are still scarce when it comes to the price, but as with most upgrades, we expect that the GR86 may receive a slight price bump, but we think that Toyota will still plan to keep it affordable.

If the current rumors are anything to go by, we expect the Toyota GR86 to arrive in mid-2021. Given the amount of testing that’s currently underway, that’s looking to be increasingly likely.

With the Supra’s higher price-point, the 86’s gap in the market remains, and Toyota will undoubtedly look to keep it that way, especially with the future launch of Nissan’s rival 400Z.

Part of the reason with not opting for the AWD/turbocharged combination was to ensure that they were able to keep the price down, which enables them to continue to appeal to the everyday motorist or enthusiast.

front spy shot gr86

With the Toyota GR Supra sporting a price tag of over $50,000, it’s out of budget for many, and given its exclusivity, we don’t expect the prices to fall quickly, either.

Given the GT86 prices, which started at $26,500, we feel it’s likely that the Toyota GR86 will fall in the $30,000-35,000 region, depending on extras.

There could be additional models, such as the equivalent of the TRD GT86 to consider, but for the base model, we would expect that to be a realistic price range.

Although many enthusiasts are disappointed by the lack of substantial changes with the GR86 so far, one of the main positives is that we don’t expect to see much price tag inflation in the process.

Toyota GR86 Warranty & Maintenance

One of the main selling points for opting for the GT86 over the BRZ was the benefits of the Toyota warranty package, which included two-year, or 25,000-mile complimentary maintenance.

On top of that, the limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles, with the powertrain covered for 60,000 miles.

Given the success of this, we would hope to see it stay much the same for the upcoming GR86 release, particularly with the potential decline in new-car sales in the current financial climate.


Conclusion

We’ve got mixed feelings about the direction that the Toyota GR86 appears to be heading so far.

There was a lot of initial hype, excitement, and anticipation with regards to significant changes with the TNGA and turbocharging plans that are now dead in the water after Toyota’s recent announcements.

Although we weren’t keen on the prospect of the transition to AWD as obsessive drifting fans, it would have been nice to see the 86 platform finally receive the forced induction that just about everyone has been screaming out for since day one.

We’ve witnessed the GT86’s true potential with the considerable array of aftermarket upgrades that have surfaced over the years, and it almost seems a shame that Toyota isn’t taking advantage of this.

Although Toyota will be opting for a brand-new engine in an attempt to continue impressing the masses, such a minimal update in the power department isn’t what 86 fans had in mind.

The GT86 was such an incredible package, and the only thing that was ever really criticized was its lack of power under the hood, and the naturally-aspirated FA24 ‘upgrade’ doesn’t eliminate the issue.

gt86 front end red

One of our primary concerns with this is that it’s not likely to leave potential buyers rushing to showrooms, which makes us wonder what the future has in store for the 86.

One of the positives is that we don’t expect to see a significant price increase, as Toyota’s proven that they’re keen to keep it as an affordable sports car.

However, we’re not entirely sure if it’ll warrant paying out the additional cost over a used GT86.

With the current financial climate, new car sales appear to be on the decline, while the used car market seems to be thriving so far.

Once potential GR86 buyers realize that the new car doesn’t have much significance to offer, there’s a good chance that we could potentially see a price bump in the cost of used GT86’s.

Since Toyota failed to do so, many enthusiasts will likely be keener to fulfill their turbocharged dreams with the GT86’s FA20 engine, instead of going with the slightly improved, naturally-aspirated FA24.

We have no doubt it’ll be fantastic as an overall package, lack of grunt aside, but it’s not shaping up to be the groundbreaking change that many have been expecting.

With the remaining final details still yet to emerge, we’re holding out hope that Toyota can pull something impressive out of the bag.

Otherwise, we fear that they may fall victim to their competitors, such as the Nissan 400Z and perhaps even the Ford Mustang GT.

The bottom line is that Toyota had the opportunity to make something truly incredible here, with a real chance to shake up the sports coupe market with the GR86.

As it stands, it looks as though the Supra has remained the focus and priority.

As much as we hate to say it, the GR86 is currently shaping up to be a mildly-refined, facelifted version of the GT86, instead of a groundbreaking successor, but we genuinely hope that Toyota will prove us wrong.

So, there we have it! We hope that we’ve covered everything you could want to know about the upcoming Toyota GR86 in this guide.

Thank you for reading our Toyota GR86 guide.

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Photography credits

We thank the following entities for the use of their photography in this article:

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author avatar Written by Joe Terrell Drifted.com founder, motoring journalist and all-round car enthusiast. Read more about Joe and the Drifted team on our about us page.

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