Toyota GR86 test: overhaul

A simple evolution of its predecessor, still with a flat 4-cylinder under the front hood, its rear-wheel drive and its mechanical gearbox between the two, the Japanese coupé nevertheless returns transfigured.

On his return, the Toyota GT86 becomes GR86. But if this new name was to testify to the metamorphosis of the Japanese coupe, it would have taken much more than the change of a simple letter.

Not that this second opus is radically different from the first. Under a certainly redesigned bodywork, the platform of the previous generation is renewed. In the same way therefore as the architecture of pure propulsion with front engine. Remained deaf to the countless complaints about its lack of muscle, the flat 4-cylinder, associated by default with a 6-speed manual gearbox, still and always ignores supercharging. In short, almost nothing changes. However, it is no longer the same car. At least to drive.

Having left until now the bittersweet taste of an affordable sports car, but thwarted by a persistent disagreement between its recreational ambitions and its borrowed character, the little “Toy” is on the contrary today a eulogy to spontaneity and simplicity. In these times when the smallest bombinette offers to adjust as many of its parameters as a space module from Space X, the very first instinct on boarding is to blindly press the “Mode” button at the foot of the center console. Nice try, it’s nothing more than one of the auto air conditioning controls…

No, here there is only one drive program. And its contours are uniquely defined by the use that everyone will have of the steering wheel and the pedals. Basta! In this case, it is no longer necessary to constantly crush the accelerator to maintain a semblance of mechanical go.

With a displacement increased from 2.0 to 2.4 without being heavier, the “flat-four” sees its torque increase from 205 to 250 Nm and its power from 200 to 234 hp. Suffice to say that between the wheels of a car with a weight maintained under 1,300 kg thanks in particular to its roof, its bonnet and its aluminum fenders, such progress does not go unnoticed.

This block with double injection (direct and indirect) now makes it possible to restart without getting impatient regardless of the gear engaged, except for the last, which is a bit long. The shorter ones even highlight a voluntary, sympathetic character, and a nasal sound a bit amplified by the sound system, but not unpleasant. The ugly mid-range bottoming and percolator accents of the rough GT86 are now just a bad memory. The alarm sounding when approaching the red zone to avoid hitting the switch perched at 7,500 rpm is ultimately not a luxury in the heat of the moment.

Not as clinical or quick as those found aboard a Honda Civic Type R or a Porsche 911 GT3the manual transmission control maintains the interaction at a level worthy of the most authentic sports cars. But the feeling of symbiosis, which was sometimes lacking behind the wheel of the GT86 in intensive use, comes from the direction, much more talkative and natural than many of its contemporaries. Gaining in consistency as the GR86 builds support in curves, it warns of the imminent crossing of the grip limits by lightening subtly.

To add to this encouraging thoughtfulness when the course twists in all directions, exit the incongruous Michelin Primacy of the GT86; the 18” rims are wrapped here in Pilot Sport 4, once again as effective as they are progressive.

But if the behavior is apprehended also instinctively, it is also because after the addition of reinforcements, the torsional rigidity of the body increases by 50%. This facilitates the work of damping, more rigorous.

Despite the slight stiffening of the springs (+ approximately 10%), body roll in turns is not completely eradicated. So much the better, it makes it easier to read the reactions than it penalizes the dynamism. A touch of flexibility that evokes an entertainment reference; the Alpine A110.

The Toyota nevertheless reveals a balance symmetrically opposed to the Norman coupe. While the Berlinette generally sways during the approach phase and then maintains an almost constant drift angle under the power of its engine, the GR86, on the other hand, displays greater stability under braking, but pivots without being asked when the throttle is resumed. Banana guaranteed! This propulsion, equipped with a mechanical self-locking, would teach the rudiments of sliding even better if the response of the accelerator was less aggressive at the start of the race.

One of the few configuration possibilities conditioned by electronics ultimately comes from the ESP including the partial disconnection mode, called Track, already very permissive, allows you to practice controlled oversteer before eventually perfecting it without a net.

Too bad it took a good decade for this good mood to be so communicative. Because the GR86 is not the only one to have changed a lot; there is also taxation. And today, this rare little coupé receives the maximum penalty, capped at 50% of its price. A dissuasive tax, including in the eyes of the manufacturer himself who has not planned to import more than around twenty copies in France for this year 2022. But it could have been worse. The close cousin Subaru BRZ is no longer marketed in Europe at all…

Our Verdict

The Toyota GR86 finally combines naturally aspirated engine, propulsion and mechanical gearbox for the best. Except for the penalty.

WE love

  • Engine reinvigorated
  • Playful behavior
  • Compactness

We love less

  • Delusional malus
  • Symbolic rear seats

Toyota GR86 data sheet

TO BUY

  • Version tested: €33,900
  • From €33,900
  • Average manufacturer consumption/during the test (l/100 km): 8.7-8.8/9.5
  • CO2/penalty: €200/€16,950
  • Fiscal power: 13 hp
  • Country of manufacture: Japan

Range offered

  • Petrol 234 hp, from €33,900 to €35,700

CONDUCT

  • Engine: longitudinal front, 4-cylinder boxer, direct and indirect injection, 16 valves, variable chain timing, 2387 cc3
  • Transmission: rear-wheel drive, 6-speed mechanical
  • Maximum power at rpm (hp): 234 at 7,000
  • Maximum torque at rpm (Nm): 250 to 3,700
  • Weight (kg): 1,293
  • Length.xwidth.xhigh. (m): 4.27×1.78×1.31
  • Wheelbase (m): 2.58
  • Tank (l): 50
  • Max speed (km/h): 226
  • 0 to 100 km/h: 6”3
  • Standard tyres: 215/40 R18
  • Test tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4

LIVE

  • Front/rear elbow width (cm): 147/131
  • Rear legroom (cm): 59
  • Chest of 4 (l): 226

RECOMMENDED OPTION

  • Metallic paint: €700

MAIN COMPETITORS

Mazda MX-5 2.0 Skyactiv-G, from €37,550

Toyota GR Yaris, from €35,600

Other sports cars on auto-moto.com:

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS test: screaming metal – VIDEO

Ferrari 296 GTB test: the wired horse – VIDEO

Lamborghini Huracán STO test: the beating heart – VIDEO

#Toyota #GR86 #test #overhaul

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