2022 Toyota GR 86

Pure sports car loaded with performance and power
By Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
September 26, 2021 Updated: September 26, 2021

GR 86 is a track tested and pro-driver-approved sports car, allowing the 2022 GR 86 to earn Toyota’s Gazoo Racing badge.

The 2.4-liter flat-four boxer engine is tuned to hit peak torque at lower RPMs, giving the feel of more linear acceleration.

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2.4L boxer engine under the hood. (Courtesy of Toyota)

The boxer engine pumps out power through four horizontally-opposed cylinder. For the 2022 model year the displacement sees a modest bump from its 2.0L predecessor, and the power goes up accordingly. The output notches up from 205 horsepower to 228 at 7,000 rpm, and the torque is upped from 156 pound-feet to 184.

The 86 is still available with both manual transmission (MT) or paddle-shifted automatic (AT).

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Three-pedal action for the die-hard manual enthusiasts. (Courtesy of Toyota)

Thanks to this power upgrade, the time for sprinting 0 to 60 mph has dropped from 7 to 6.1 seconds for MT and from 8 to 6.6 seconds for AT.

Recently I had the opportunity to take to the track at Monticello Motor Club in White Plains, New York, driving the new GR 86. I did a practice drive with a professional driver, and then took two laps by myself in a manual and an automatic model.

While both models will be covered in this column, there will be a focus on the automatic. Even though the car did splendidly in both drives, I’d prefer to let the GR 86 do the shifting while I focus on the driving dynamics and my controls, keeping “hands on the wheel.”

The new GR 86 comes in seven exterior colors. My favorite is Track bRed, then there are also Trueno Blue, Neptune Blue, Halo White, Steel Grey, Pavement Grey, and Raven Black.

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Trueno Blue, a name giving a shout-out to the 86’s origin. (Courtesy of Toyota)

I liked the GR 86 Premium trim. It comes equipped with a rear duckbill spoiler, adding dynamic contours to the car’s sporty feel. The automatic transmission version comes with active safety standards that include Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Throttle Management, Lane Departure Warning, Sway Warning, Lead Vehicle Start Alert, and High Beam Assist.

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Profile view showing the duckbill spoiler. (Courtesy of Toyota)

There have been several cabin upgrades as well as the power upgrade. The front seats have a deep bucket design with side bolsters that keep the front occupants in their seats during serious cornering. These seats felt a little tight for me, but maybe that is because my butt is the size of a #2 washtub.

The GR 86 Premium grade six-way power-adjustable seats are upholstered in black perforated Alcantara with a silver accent that flows to the steering wheel, adding a race-inspired touch to the cabin.

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Black perforated Alcantara seats with silver accent. (Courtesy of Toyota)

Additional upgrades include a three-mode TFT multi-information display, which offers different information layouts for Normal, Sport, Snow, or Track driving modes.

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Multi-function display. (Courtesy of Toyota)

An 8-inch multimedia touchscreen with six speakers comes in the standard grade, while an eight-speaker system comes with the Premium grade. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto with NFC pairing, and a SiriusXM three-month all-access trial are also featured. There are two subscription-based connected services: Remote Connect and Safety Connect. These services enable remote functions like engine start and vehicle locator, plus peace-of-mind functions like SOS Emergency Assistance and Automatic Collision Notification.

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Infotainment system touchscreen. (Courtesy of Toyota)

GR 86 seats four comfortably, and offers 6.2 cubic feet of trunk space. Of course the rear seat folds down for more storage space. Seven airbags add to the last line of passenger protection.

Outside, the GR 86 features a “G-mesh-shaped matrix” grille, fusing performance with expression. Its angular LED head lights complement the aerodynamic front air dams, while front fenders and rocker moldings form side sill spoilers to enhanced aerodynamics.

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G-mesh-shaped matrix grille. (Courtesy of Toyota)

Air outlets are placed in the front wheel arches so air in the front wheel wells can escape, thus reducing air turbulence. All this beauty sits on 18-inch aluminum wheels.

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Wheel arch vent and side sill spoiler. (Courtesy of Toyota)

Driving the GR 86 was a lot of fun, especially with the challenges of the track, yet it’s just as enjoyable on the highway. The thick leather wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with quick steering ratio intensifies the everyday driver’s perception of confidence and responsiveness at the same time.

Then there is the exhaust. The large exhaust center pipe delivers a satisfying growl, making your presence known to the folks around. Inside, Active Sound Control augments the engine sound heard in the cabin to stimulate the thrill of power.

There is a complimentary one-year membership to National Auto Sport Association.

Price will start under $30,000. Expect to see the new GR 86 in the 1,800 Toyota dealerships in the United States by this November.

36 months/36,000 miles basic new-vehicle warranty
60 months/60,000 miles powertrain warranty
24 months/unlimited miles 24-hour roadside assistance
24 months/25,000 miles ToyotaCare which covers factory-scheduled maintenances

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or durhlcaussey@gmail.com.