New 2021 Toyota GR86 to make UK debut at Goodwood

Toyota’s new GR86 rear-wheel drive sports car will head up the hill at this year’s Festival of Speed

Toyota’s new GR86 sports car will make an appearance at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, with a no-holds barred run up the hill climb course. It’s the successor in all but name to the Toyota GT86, and it’s due to go on sale in Europe either later this year or in early 2022 as a new rival for the Mazda MX-5 RF.

Just like its predecessor, the GR86 is the fruit of Toyota’s partnership with Subaru, sharing the same platform and engine as the recently refreshed Subaru BRZ. Toyota claims it has “engaged in a friendly rivalry” with Subaru to develop two new sports cars with distinct characters.

The Toyota GR86 is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.4-litre flat-four “boxer” engine, which replaces the 2.0-litre unit found in the old car. European specs are yet to be confirmed, but the Japanese version of the car produces 232bhp and 250Nm of torque.

That’s 35bhp and 45Nm more than the car it replaces, which means the GR86 will get from 0–62mph in 6.3 seconds, or 1.1 seconds faster than the old car. These figures could change once the car is away from Toyota’s home market, though.

As standard, the new engine will be mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, although Toyota will offer a six-speed automatic transmission as an optional extra. Both send drive to the rear wheels through a limited-slip differential.

The GR86 is built on the same basic platform as the GT86, which means it retains the same proportions as its predecessor. However, Toyota is keen to stress that the shell has been upgraded with more strengthening panels and stronger bonding techniques, which improve the chassis’s stiffness and sharpen up the handling. 

Torsional rigidity is up by 50 percent as a result and, thanks to some new aluminium body panels, the whole car tips the scales at just 1,270kg. Toyota says that should be enough to make the GR86 the lightest four-seat coupe in its class.

The “GR” in the coupe’s name stands for Gazoo Racing. It’s Toyota’s in-house tuning division, which has helped hone cars like the GR Supra and the GR Yaris hot hatchback, so it’s no surprise that the tuners have also had a hand in the GR86’s chassis development.

The car’s styling mostly matches that of the Subaru BRZ, sharing its headlamps, daytime running lights and smooth front end surfacing. However, Toyota has managed to place some distance between its sports car and Subaru’s offering by fitting a new front apron with a large rectangular air intake, compared to the BRZ’s more angular detailing.

The GT86’s gently sculpted roof remains, while at the rear the chunky bumper houses a new diffuser element and a twin-exit exhaust. As with the BRZ, the GR86’s bonnet, front wings and roof are made from lightweight aluminium.

Inside, Toyota has fitted its new compact sports car with much more technology, including a seven-inch digital gauge cluster and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, as part of a thorough redesign of the centre console and dashboard.

Automatic versions of the GR86 will also be available with Subaru-developed EyeSight driver assistance technology. Making use of a forward-facing camera setup, this provides pre-collision avoidance support. 

Full UK information is yet to be confirmed, but we expect the car to go on sale either late this year or early in 2022. Prices could start from around £30,000.

What do you make of the new Toyota GR86? Let us know in the comments…