The Toyota GT86 has always been one of the best affordable sports cars, but there was always the feeling that it could do with a chunk more power. The old one packed 197bhp and was outpaced by a Ford Fiesta ST, at least in standard form. Of course, it was never really about the straight-line pace, and the chassis was the main focus.
It seems Toyota has taken the criticisms of the last car on board, as there’s now a welcome dollop of extra power. The new Toyota GR86 has 232bhp, although still no turbo; the extra grunt comes from a bigger 2.4-litre boxer engine. Zero-to-62mph now takes 6.3 seconds, which will be noticeably quicker than the old one, which took nearly 7.5 seconds to complete the sprint.
If you liked the shape of the old one, chances are you’ll like this one too as… the main body work looks identical. There are heavily reworked front and rear ends, and a pair of swollen rear arches that look pretty purposeful. The grille is squarer than the one on the new Subaru BRZ - a nod to the GR Yaris - but otherwise the two cars look very similar once again. The tail-lights are also similar to the Yaris, and the GR86 wears the same 18-inch wheels too.
It’s fair to say that the driving experience always came above the fit and finish of the interior, and it looks like it might be the case still. There is a digital dash and the sporty red accents, but the touchscreen looks like an aftermarket unit from a decade ago and those blank steering wheel buttons need some functions.
Still, the car in these pics has two-zone air con and heated seats for extra comfort, and Toyota has confirmed that the GR86 will get Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance system - if you order an automatic gearbox. This features both driver aids and the ability to automatically contact the emergency services.
The Toyota GR86 coupe will launch in Japan in autumn, and should arrive in other markets, including the UK, shortly after. Prices will rise - and the GT86 didn’t stick at its £25k launch price for too long - but we’d expect it to be around half the price of a mid-spec Porsche Cayman.
What do you think of the new GR86?