Driving the 2023 Toyota GR86 GT will give you flashbacks to playing the Gran Turismo console game in time trial mode. It steers as if it’s locked on rails, flattening out corners with aplomb, thanks to its awesome chassis.
With the additional power over the previous model thrown in, it’s a proper fun bit of gear too. That get up and go we speak of comes from a 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine, driving the rear wheels.
Peak power is 174kW and peak torque is 250Nm, up 22kW and 38Nm on previous model. The new engine replaces the previous 2.0-litre offering. It’s new found wonderous capability comes from the cool kids at Gazoo Racing, and 60-years of racing prowess.
Even at a solid pace, rowing through all the gears, mid-corner bumps refused to unsettle its pin-point accuracy through the line. It’s impressive in that regard and testament to the suspension work as a whole.
Smaller things like the new engine mounts designed to reduce vibration are a boon for the new model. That speaks volumes when you consider the standout complaint from the previous generation was the 86’s lack-lustre performance.
There was also the fact that you had to work the gears to maintain momentum. Those days are over, and the GR86 GT genuinely feels quick from the get-go and keeps on pulling well into speeding fine/license loss territory.
Throttle response is super sharp too, even in Normal drive mode, while Sport gives you more mid-range grunt. There’s a touch more urgency in the Track setting, but again it’s only just discernible from the other modes.
Toyota claims 8.7-litres/100km in terms of fuel consumption, while we managed 8.5-litres in real world testing on 98 Octane fuel. The petrol tank has a capacity of 50-litres.
Driving experience aside, the new GR86 is dearer than before (up more than $10,000), it’s pricier than its Subaru BRZ sibling, and misses out on such things as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, performance tyres, and 18-inch wheels.
Toyota argues that it delivers better goodies for the coin than its partner, including changed springs, tweaked throttle response, and a tuned electric power steering system though, and there’s plenty to like in the $43,240 plus on-roads coupe.
Among the list of standard features are 17-inch machine-face alloy wheels, a Torsen limited-slip differential, leather shift knob and steering wheel, fabric sports seats, keyless entry, and a six-speaker sound system.
Buyers keen on a bit more kit can upgrade to the $45,390 (plus on-roads) GR86 GTS, which adds 18-inch black alloys, Ultrasuede and leather seats, aluminium sports pedals, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring.
Externally, the only noticeable difference between the GT and GTS is the slightly larger black alloys. The GR86 is longer and lower than the first series, with a slightly longer wheelbase. It now with the trademark Gazoo Racing black mesh grille.
This is flanked by functional intakes that channel air for more front-end stability, as well as enhancing airflow to the radiator. The GR86 also gets a flat underbody plate up front, again to streamline airflow.
Inside, the fabric sports seats feel nice and supportive, even for larger occupants, although the cabin feels cosy (it’s a sports car after all). There is plenty of legroom upfront though, and even at 191cm tall, this writer didn’t have too much trouble getting in and out.
Head room is a bit of an issue if you’re that tall though. It is a 4-seater but the rear seats, affectionately known as the ‘parcel shelf’ are only good for small children or little dogs. The upside is that the back seat drops down to give you access to the booty cavity.
The 237-litre boot is popped open with a handy rubber nib under the badge and is reasonably well proportioned, except for the narrow opening. For the tech heads, you’ll find an 8.0-inch infotainment display that pairs with the 7.0-inch digital instrument display.
Both screens are uniform across the two spec levels, which means budget buyers aren’t left out. There are nicely spaced icons to switch between various menu systems and functions, and the screen doesn’t show any sort of lag.
Toyota has stuck with physical dials and switches to control the air-conditioning and volume. It also comes with a gamut of Toyota safety features too numerous to list, and a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
You can even extend that to 7-years on the engine and driveline if you stick to the manufacturer’s service schedule, and stay within the dealer network. Service intervals are 12-months or 15,000km – whichever comes first.
Capped-price servicing for the first 5-years/75,000km costs $280 a visit, which is pretty reasonable. The 2023 Toyota GR86 GT is available in eight colours, including White Liquid, Magnetic Grey, Ice Silver Metallic, Apollo Blue and Rapid Blue.
Our test vehicle was provided by Toyota Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Toyota GR86 GT, contact your local Toyota dealer.