Toyota has lifted the covers on the second-generation Toyota 86, now renamed the GR 86. As expected, it has been co-developed with Subaru and is largely the same as the Subaru BRZ twin, though there are (very) slight variations between the two. Interestingly, Toyota and Subaru decided to hold a joint reveal globally, the first time the two companies have shared such a big stage together, under the slogan “Let’s make a good car together!”.
During the on-stage event, the Subaru wass painted in its signature WR Blue and the Toyota in a shade red reminiscent of its 80s sports cars like the AE86 and MR2. Both look a bit chunkier than the outgoing models, with less curviness in the hood and a more mature (but also less sporty) appearance overall. The 86 has a larger central intake with smaller one to the side, while the BRZ is reversed, with a smaller central intake flanked by larger ones on each side.
From the rear, the cars are nearly indistinguishable. However, Toyota says that “Although the two vehicles share the same vehicle base, the two companies focused on imbuing their respective models with a distinct driving feel.” To be clear, the suspension geometry and design are exactly the same. There might be subtle differences in springs and shocks, but that’s about it.
Even the wheels look identical. The Subaru’s are finished in a lighter silver, while the Toyota’s are black. Other than the badges, they’re the same 18-inch 10-spokes, wrapped in Michelin 215/40-R18 Pilot Sports.
The similarities continue on the inside, but that’s to be expected. The Subaru seems to have a few extra buttons on the steering wheel for Bluetooth phone activation, but that could just be an option package difference. The Toyota has an extra “GR” badge on the steering wheel.
Both cars are powered by a 2.4-liter Subaru boxer. Output is specified as a naturally aspirated 232 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. While some reports point out that appears to be a 4-horsepower bump over the BRZ’s reported 228-horsepower, that’s not quite accurate.
Both the 86 and BRZ will have 232 horsepower in Japan-market spec. The 228 horsepower figure is for the US-market BRZ. Toyota hasn’t announced figures for the US market 86, but we expect it’ll match the BRZ’s 228. The difference is likely due to emissions equipment.
It goes without saying that both will be rear-whee-drive and have the option of a 6-speed manual transmission. Amazingly, curb weight has been kept to 2800 pounds, which sits between the current base 86’s 2776 and the GT trim’s 2817. That’s a rarity in this day and age, and should be celebrated from the mountaintops. With the same mass and more power than the previous generation, will it satisfy the armchair critics?
Given that we’ve already seen the Subaru BRZ, nothing about the Toyota should come as much of a surprise. The joint reveal, though, is an unusual step, and may indicate that the two companies will be working even closer with each other in the future and will not be shy about it. There are even links from the official Subaru Japan website to the Toyota 86, and vice versa. There’s also been rumors that they’re co-developing an AWD sports model (ie, perhaps a WRX STI and Celica GT-Four combo).
The two even seem to have had a bit of fun during the development process. “While engaging in friendly rivalry with the BRZ development team,” Toyota says, “TGR sought to develop a vehicle that would provide happiness to 86 fans, and realize an evolution of the 86’s unique driving sensations.” The BRZ is scheduled to go on sale in Japan this summer, and the 86 will follow in the fall. We’re likely to get them shortly after, for the 2022 model year.
Images courtesy of Toyota, Subaru