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All-new Toyota GR86 makes European debut

Following its world reveal in April, the new Toyota GR86 now makes its official European debut ahead of its introduction in the spring of 2022. The model provides the new entry point into Toyota’s acclaimed GR range, joining the GR Supra and GR Yaris as the next evolution of the much-loved and similarly pure-bred GT86.The…

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Following its world reveal in April, the new Toyota GR86 now makes its official European debut ahead of its introduction in the spring of 2022. The model provides the new entry point into Toyota’s acclaimed GR range, joining the GR Supra and GR Yaris as the next evolution of the much-loved and similarly pure-bred GT86.

The new GR86 is presented as an analogue car for the digital age, being developed by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. It is designed to help owners rediscover the pleasure of driving, whether that is on track or in day-to-day use.

However, production of the GR86 for Europe will be limited to just two years. This will make the new coupe an exclusive proposition for customers, because when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Toyota GR86: power and performance

The horizontally opposed ‘boxer’ engine remains a defining element of the GR86. The new engine retains the same cylinder block as that used in the outgoing GT86 but has been bored-out to increase displacement from 2.0 to 2.4 litres. Power has risen by around 17% to 231bhp, yet it is the 22% increase in torque that will be most keenly appreciated, especially as the 250Nm peak now arrives almost 3,000rpm lower down the rev range.

As a result, the 0-62mph acceleration time has been cut by more than a second to 6.3 seconds, while the top speed is now 140mph (6.9 seconds and 134mph for automatic).

Detailed mechanical changes have been made to reduce the engine’s weight and ensure performance that is appropriate for its higher output. These include thinner cylinder lines, stronger connecting rods and bearings, optimised combustion chamber and water jacket, and a switch from aluminium to a resin material for the rocker covers.

The D-4S fuel injection has been retuned for quicker response to throttle inputs. The direct injection element of this system has a cooling effect in the combustion chamber, which supports the high 12.5:1 compression ratio, while its port injection operates under light and medium engine loads to maximise efficiency.

Engine breathing has been improved with changes to the diameter and length of the intake manifold, while upstream the intake has been redesigned to optimise airflow. Liquid management has been improved with a new anti-cavitation fuel pump, a smaller, high-speed water pump, and a new water-cooled oil radiator with a thicker core. Liquid-filled engine mounts combat unwanted noise and vibration, though a combination of a new 5.6-litre exhaust centre pipe and synthesised audio help to generate a satisfying roar in the cabin.

The six-speed manual transmission benefits from a new carbon synchroniser on gear four, as well as new low-viscosity oil and bearings to improve shift quality. The ergonomics of the shift lever have made it more satisfying to hold, while the stroke length has been shortened. The automatic transmission has been equipped with additional clutch discs and a new high-capacity torque converter to harness the engine’s higher power. Sport mode selects the optimum gear in line with driver input and the vehicle’s dynamic behaviour, although the driver can also take manual control of the gear shifts through paddle controls on the steering column.

Toyota GR86: chassis and handling

The new GR86 follows its predecessor in delivering the thrill of a car that responds exactly in line with the driver’s intentions. To ensure this translation is accurate, the chassis and body make extensive use of light but high-strength materials, strategic reinforcements and structural adhesives.

At the front, the bonnet has a new diagonal internal frame. Diagonal braces and high-strength fasteners have also been added to the connection between suspension and body frame to improve the transmission of load from the tyres and reduce lateral bending. These measures have increased rigidity in this area by 60%. At the rear, a continuous frame structure has been created by connecting the inner panel to the platform and joining the upper and lower chassis with the same high-strength fasteners. As a result, the torsional rigidity of the body has been increased by 50%.

Aluminium is employed for the roof panel, front wings and bonnet, with further weight savings from new front seat, silencer and prop shaft designs. These elements have helped us achieve a 53:47 front/rear weight balance and a kerb weight that is almost equal to that of the GT86 despite the addition of extra features for safety and collision protection.

With regards to its chassis, the GR86 maintains the front MacPherson struts and rear double wishbones of its predecessor, though tuned for an even higher level of response and stability. Shock absorber damping and coil spring characteristics have been optimised and the rear suspension has been improved by connecting the anti-roll car directly to the subframe for maximum stability. A Torsen limited-slip differential equalises traction across the rear axle when cornering.

The electric power steering has a 13.5:1 ratio and requires just 2.5 turns to move from lock to lock. The system uses a new column-mounted motor to reduce weight and use of space.

Finally, ventilated disc brakes are fitted front and rear, with diameters of 294 and 290mm respectively. A complement of braking control systems – ABS, Brake Assist, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control, Hill-start Assist – are provided as standard, together with an emergency brake signal system.

Toyota GR86: exterior design

The exterior aesthetic is an evolution of the classic front engine, rear-wheel drive sports car proportions expressed in the GT86. The new GR86 has similar overall dimensions, though it is 10mm lower and 5mm longer in its wheelbase.

The LED headlights feature an L-shape internal arrangement similar to that of the GR Supra, and the rear light clusters have a strong three-dimensional design that blends into the rear haunches. The front bumper has a new textured finish that helps to reduce drag, and the front wings and large sill mouldings combine to form shapely side skirts.

Functional vents in the front wings manage airflow and reduce turbulence within the wheel arches, while fins around the rear wheel arches and lower bumper similarly train airflow over and away from the body to enhance stability. On high-grade models, a ducktail spoiler is added to the trailing edge of the boot lid.

Similarly, according to model grade, the GR86 is equipped with either 17-inch alloy wheels with Michelin Primacy HP tyres, or 18-inch black alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres.

Toyota GR86: interior design

The interior features a strong horizontal layout that gives the driver a wide field of vision. Within the instrument binnacle is a seven-inch multi-information display that prioritises the central tachometer and digital speedo. The contents of the display can be selected, reset and controlled using switches on the steering wheel. GR branding in the start-up animations on both the driver’s screen and eight-inch multimedia system acknowledge the car’s sports status.

Function controls are designed and located for intuitive operation, including large rotary dials for heating and ventilation, and piano key switches. The centre arm rest has been improved with cup holder recesses, two USB ports and an auxiliary socket.

The new front seats are slim yet offer good body-holding through the use of supportive pads, and the rear seat back can be folded down from either inside or outside to reveal a load space big enough to hold four wheels – ideal for those driving to and from a track day.

Toyota GR86 technical specifications

ENGINE   
Type  Four-cylinder horizontally opposed (boxer) 
Valve mechanism  16-valve DOHC 
Fuel system  Toyota D-4S direct and port injection 
Capacity (cc)  2,387 
Bore x stroke (mm)  94 x 86 
Compression ratio  12.5:1 
Max. power (bhp/DIN hp/kW @ rpm)  231 / 234 / 172 @ 7,000 
Max. torque (Nm @ rpm)  250 @ 3,700 
TRANSMISSION   
Type  Six-speed manual / six-speed automatic 
PERFORMANCE   
Max. speed (mph)  140 manual / 134 automatic 
0-62mph acceleration (sec)  6.3 manual / 6.9 automatic 
SUSPENSION   
Front suspension  MacPherson strut 
Rear suspension  Double wishbone 
Anti-roll bar thickness (mm)  18.3 front / 14 rear 
STEERING   
Type  Electric power steering, rack and pinion 
Turns lock-to-lock  2.5 
Min. turning circle – body (m)  5.7 
Min. turning circle – tyre (m)  5.4 
BRAKES   
Front   Ventilated discs 
Rear  Ventilated discs 
TYRES   
Tyre size   215/45 R17 or 215/40 R18 
DIMENSIONS – EXTERIOR   
Overall length (mm)  4,265 
Overall width (mm)  1,775 
Overall height (mm)  1,310 
Wheelbase (mm)  2,757 
Front track (mm)  1,520 
Rear track (mm)  1,550 
DIMENSIONS – INTERIOR   
Length (mm)  1,625 
Width (mm)  1,480 
Height (mm)  1,060 
Load space – VDA (l)  226 
WEIGHTS   
Kerb weight – max-min (kg)  1,275-1,314 
Gross weight (kg)  1,670 manual / 1,700 automatic 

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It’s late Sunday afternoon on one of the warmest spring days of the year. The ground looks dry and is already beginning to crack. Songbirds and bees compete for attention as the low sun gently warms thousands of blossoming apple trees on a south-facing hillside in the heart of Kent.

But with unseasonably low temperatures in the overnight weather forecast, the race is on to protect a 75-acre orchard from frost damage. One way to do this is to make sure the grass between each row of trees is kept short. This helps to increase airflow and reduces the chance of cold air settling. 

Claire Seymour, 43, gently edges her Toyota Hilux between a row of trees at Tubslake Farm, near Hawkhurst in Kent. Her pick-up’s white paintwork and red signwriting match the flowering pink and white Braeburn apple blossom. Her husband, Steve Bowles, also 43, then sets about unloading a large green Fendt 209V tractor from an enormous six-wheeled flat-bed trailer behind the Toyota. He starts up the brand new tractor and then begins to set up and test the Fisher variable-width mower before handing it over to its new owner for an evening of urgent grass cutting.

Claire is managing director of NP Seymour Ltd, an engineering and agricultural machinery dealer set up by her family in 1974. Based in nearby Cranbrook, the company supplies and makes equipment for orchards, vineyards and fruit growers across the UK. 

“We’ve had other pick-ups in the past but I was impressed with the comfort of the Hilux. We bought it from Beadles Toyota, Medway, in the spring of 2019.

“It’s the Invincible model and is fitted with off-road tyres and a Truckman top on the back. We use it all the time for customer deliveries all over the UK, visiting growers and going to shows. The 3.5-tonne towing capacity is really important to us as lots of our kit is very heavy,” explained Claire.

Surrounded by apple blossom, NP Seymour’s Toyota Hilux delivers a tractor to an orchard at Tubslake Farm, Hawkhurst, Kent.

“We’ve been really busy since we’ve owned it. Covid didn’t really slow us down at all. We just had a few difficulties with staff numbers. But the demand for our machinery hasn’t stopped.

“The Hilux has already done 50,000 miles, and absolutely nothing has gone wrong with it. We’ll definitely buy another Toyota when it’s time to replace this one,” she said, just before hurrying off, leaving the orchard in a cloud of dust to go and enjoy the rest of her Sunday evening with Steve.

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