For sure, every petrolhead has it's wish list of cars which he (or she) wants to own one day. Mypersonal list of absolute dream cars contained almost only classic cars with a few exceptions, like the Alfa Romeo 8C, BMW M3 E46 or Porsche 993 Turbo. BUT, Toyota made me adding the first two new cars onto the list. Two cars that have blown my mind in many aspects. First up was the GR Yaris I already wrote two reviews about! And the second one it the GR Supra with the manual transmission.
The Toyota GR brand (Gazoo Racing, the in-house sports and racing department) expands their fleet with the GR86, the GT86’s successor and a manually gated GR Supra! And as this isn’t good enough, Toyota Switzerland invited me down to southern Spain, Seville to be exact, to enjoy a first drive experience with the all new GR86 and the newly launched manually gated GR Supra.
GR Supra with the manual transmission
The fans and enthusiasts have spoken. Toyota has listened and brought their GR Supra with the manual transmission. Toyota’s claim: “For the drivers” has come to reality. Especially with their GR cars. Available with a stick shift in three trims, the current Supra also gains a suspension and driveline update that Toyota promises will make the car drive even better than before. On top the Supra is available in additionally launched colors and interior trims. The exterior’s optics haven’t changed except for a red “Supra” lettering at the rear.
To quickly sum up this section of my review: The Supra has undergone its holy completion. It has become such an engaging car to drive with way enough power for Swiss streets. Honestly, this car gained a spot in my heart as I am a huge fan of unconventional designed, traditionally formed sportscars and GTs with long hoods. I call this an interesting alternative to a Porsche 911 (992) Carrera for a smaller budget. It is utterly great, well done, Toyota!
On to the all-new Toyota GR86
The car feels that it has grown up in its design and appearance. Contemporarily, a common thing with the current car designs. But compared to other manufacturers, Toyota managed to keep the car’s size almost identical instead of letting it grow from its predecessor. The spot-on proportions are very attracting to my own taste. The optics itself could have been shaped a bit sleeker and more confident for a sportscar, what do you think? However, the Toyota GR86 will be a car fans might modify very soon. In conclusion, many parts will enter this enthusiast’s market for sure.
What it’s all about
The GR86 has become a prettier, torquier and keener handling car than the GT86, but no bigger, heavier or more complicated. The philosophy was to build a modern classic, as simply as possible.
The GR86 is one of 2022’s very best cars. The antidote to overpowered, overweight, overcomplicated so-called sports cars, it’s like a sanitised, weatherproof Caterham. Able to deliver many giggles at an affordable price but improved in various key areas over the GT86 – the torque, the looks, the on-the-limit handling, which can be reached by a skilled, sporty driver.
The GR86 is a refreshingly uncomplicated car. There’s no Sport mode for throttle response or Individual setting to harness all your favorite parameters in menus you couldn’t even find in the deepness of a multimedia system. Get in, start up the engine and drive. As simple as that. Very puristic, exactly what I was hoping to experience!
It’s a one-setting passive damping set-up, and on first impression across some of Spain’s winding back roads, it’s a well-judged compromise. Very abrupt over speed bumps and level crossings, but tolerable everywhere else. It’s not just the numbers that Toyota claimed to have worked on, you can absolutely feel the great balance of the car and the passionate work the engineers have put into the new GR model. Such a shame that cars must be that quiet nowadays. I’d love to hear the engine sound a bit more, to get a feeling of what’s going on under the hood. Just to have a deeper connection and a more memorable experience. Toyota’s decision to pipe in some rorty sound via the speakers is the wrong way in my own opinion. At least it isn’t that obvious like in the GR Yaris.
Speaking of the new 2.4-liter 4-cylinder-boxer engine; it is the most important change compared to the GR86’s predecessor, the GT86, is the with a maximum delivering torque of 250Nm at 3700rpm instead of 205Nm at 6700rpm, promising an entirely different order of in-gear flexibility and general drivability. It makes you forget the frustratingly slow GT86 immediately. Although I wish to have slightly more power, the GR86 is still a very enjoyable and fun ride on twisty roads for a very reasonable price compared to other sports cars. The intention to leave all the high-tech gimmicks apart makes light and fun cars being alive. The sad story about it is the reality that most of the buyers left the purists for overpriced cars which can be leased or financed anyway.
So, hats off to Toyota from my side for believing in us, delivering cars of a dying breed, we still dream of.
To the interior
Realistically, the GR86 is more likely a two-seater instead of a four-seater. At least it is more comfortable to sit in the back row like in a Lexus LC500, Polestar 1 or new Porsche 911. Although the interior wasn't the main focus during our first drive event, it is a great place to be in. Very puristic, functional, intuitive. Just like any petrolhead wants it to have. There aren't many electric gadgets beside The air conditioning and the touchscreen for the infotainment system. Which is great. It only distracts you from driving. Because that's the main thing you actually want to do with your new GR86! Having the car's price in mind, the overall quality is great. Of course, there's some plastic here and there. But this can easily be overlooked. It would only make the GR86 more expensive.
Now what to buy
Pretty simple. A new GR86 or GR Supra with the manual six-speed transmission. The major choice between these two great cars is probably defined due to the buyer’s individual financial situation. However, both sportscars provide pure joy and have enough power to wear the “sportscar” badge. Or at least: Just to have fun with. Both coupes have engines linked to brands known for each motor; Subaru with the Boxer engine and BMW with the inline-six engine. Luckily, both concepts work flawlessly and spice up the car market. Go and get one of them before the pure and driver focused cars completely disappear!
To end this review, I wanted to thank Toyota Switzerland and Toyota Europe for an unforgettable experience in Spain I got invited for, driving both GR sportscars on road and track.
Small teaser: I'm excited to announce that more detailed reviews of both cars, the GR86 and the GR Supra are coming in 2023!