Since 2015, Toyota has combined its motorsport activities under the name Gazoo Racing (GR).
The racing department is responsible for three street-legal sports cars that are intended to enhance the brand image of the Japanese mass manufacturer with emotional exclamation marks.
In addition to the all-wheel drive compact Toyota GR Yaris with three-cylinder engine and CVT transmission, the new 2+2-seater GR 86 and the two-seater GR Supra are to take on this task.
Both sports cars drive the rear wheels.
The GR 86 is enlivened by a four-cylinder boxer engine without turbo developed by Subaru.
And the GR Supra is powered by a supercharged 3.0-litre straight-six that BMW supplies.
Gazoo Racing treats the boxer unit, which has been expanded from 2.0 liters to 2.4 liters in 2022, to an in-house injection system.
In addition, the torsional rigidity of the vehicle has been increased and the weight has been reduced.
The new GR Supra "only" gets a six-speed manual transmission developed by ZF.
The Toyota GR 86 initially goes back to the Subaru BRZ and was gradually further developed in cooperation with Toyota engineers.
In its current version, Toyota and Subaru offer it in an almost identical format.
As the Toyota GR 86, it is for many the brightest certificate of sportiness in the Toyota GR trio.
All 600 units destined for Germany were sold out three days after the announcement.
Perhaps also because the most honest of the three GR athletes should only be built by March 2024.
After that, it falls victim to stricter emission regulations and design requirements for camera-supported safety systems.
We test drove it on the race track and on public roads.
The low entry, the narrow seating, the analog operating concept, the boxer engine, the crisp six-speed manual transmission and the non-existent acoustic restraint of the 235 hp roughneck drive the Toyota GR 86 in the conceptual proximity of the former Honda S 2000 and today's Mazda MX 5.
The boxer engine installed deep in the front end and revving up to 7000 revs, the rigid body structure and the weight distribution of 53:47, paired with an extremely direct rack and pinion steering are guarantors for the cornering willingness of the almost 1400 kg light speedster.
The crisp shifting with short distances and the direct throttle response of the naturally aspirated engine keep the driving pleasure of that sports car generation alive, which the prescribed fleet consumption and the comfort demands of some customers have almost completely driven out.
Anyone who accelerates the GR 86 to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds and further up to the top speed of 226 km/h will find out why: Despite all the joy in the pithy, cheering boxer singing, the GR 86 is above all loud.
Not least because Toyota has saved on insulation to optimize the power-to-weight ratio.
In addition, the 18-inch Michelin tires run noisily.
A small bouquet of assistance systems demonstrates that the new Toyota GR 86 is not from yesterday.
It warns of supposedly unwanted lane changes, adaptive cruise control is on board as well as a high beam automatic and the warning of the blind spot.
The cross-traffic warning when reversing is helpful.
Because although the view back is intended due to the concept, it also restricts the field of vision through the rear window during maneuvering due to the concept.
The GR 86 is (would be) available at prices starting at 34,000 euros.Keywords: