The Gazoo Racing anointing: All-new Toyota GR86


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The Toyota 86 has been one of the highly-anticipated models when the Japanese motoring giant announced its development over 15 years ago. Almost a decade following the production run of the first generation 86, the front-engine rear-wheel-drive sports coupe enjoyed success with over 200,000 units sold worldwide. As fans eagerly wait for the development of the next generation 86, the wait is finally over, the all-new Toyota GR86 is here.

Sportier than ever, the latest generation 86 is now part of the Toyota Gazoo Racing lineup.

Autocar Philippines was invited by Toyota Motor Philippines to join a small group of motoring journalists for an exclusive look and experiential drive of the all-new Toyota GR86. The intimate event took place at the Deli Steakhouse in Clark, Pampanga coinciding with the GR Vios Cup race weekend.

The all-new Toyota GR86's front fasciaLooking at the all-new GR86, the exterior updates are pronounced yet it still carries over the distinct 86 shape. More sculpted front fenders with cleaner-looking vents placed by the wheel wells are now in place. Front fascia is highlighted by the new headlight design which seems more aerodynamic than of the predecessor’s. The front bumper grill is larger and taller, while the bumper side vents are now sleeker-looking with the absence of fog lights.

More exterior updates happened at the rear of the all-new GR86. From the round-ish tail lights, the GR86 now features a sleeker tail light shape. The tail lights also come with a black garnish which exudes that integrated tail light look. The GR86 also sports a seemingly narrow trunk top design giving out a ducktail-like appearance from the rear. To add, from the first gen’s trunk-mounted license plate mount, the GR86’s license plate is now mounted low at the rear bumper. The rear bumper and diffuser were also redesigned. This allowed a cleaner overall rear end look, allowing to highlight the bigger Toyota badge as well as the GR and 86 emblem. I just wish the Philippine market GR86 retained the original ‘86’ logo on the trunk like in the other market.

All-new Toyota GR86 six-speed manual variantAll-new GR86 interior dashboardThe new FA24 boxer engine of the all-new Toyota GR86Another biggest update with the latest generation GR86 lies beneath its hood. From its previous FA20 engine, the GR86 is now powered by the naturally aspirated new FA24 flat four. The new mill features a longer stroke than that of its predecessor’s, while the bore size remains the same. This powertrain update resulted in a better low end response thanks to the healthier torque the GR86 packs.

Sitting behind the wheel of the GR86, it is evident that the Toyota sport coupe matured and it matured quite well. First off, the cockpit gives out a more supercar feel than of the previous. From the retro-vibing gauge panel of the first-gen 86, the GR 86 now has a full digital instrument panel. The cockpit became more sophisticated primarily because of the all black steering wheel which deviates from the black with polished metal interior colorway of the previous. Overall, the dash has been refined. Notably, the center aircon vent is now cleaner looking along with the infotainment system and glove box area as opposed with those of the first-gen. 

Yours truly trying out the all-new Toyota GR86 (photo by Matt Mallari)

And for the most awaited part of the event, it is finally time for a quick test drive of the all-new Toyota GR86 around Clark. We were given the chance to experience the 6-speed automatic variant which is also the top-of-the-line GR86 in the market. From the get go it feels sportier. Like the previous 86, the seat firmly holds and gives confidence for spirited driving. The steering does not feel numb and gives full feedback of the road. A slight push on the throttle and the better torque response can be instantly felt. Pull the left paddle shifter then open the throttle halfway and you are up for an easy overtake. If not for the speed limit, I would love to push the GR86 more. I can just imagine how fun it would be to drive it on the track.

 

As for the difference between the top-of-the-line six-speed automatic and the six-speed manual, the automatic variant gets the Adaptive Headlights, Blind Spot Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control System, and a bunch of Toyota’s Active Safety Suite. Also, the more premium six-speed automatic rolls on a set of 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in track-ready Michelin Pilot Sport 4 while the six-speed manual will be getting a set of 17-inch paired with Michelin Primacy HP tires. 

18-inch wheel of the more premium GR86 six-speed automatic variantIf you are asking why the manual variant seems bare, it is because TMP intended it to be. The brand believes that the people who will be getting the manual variant will most likely modify their GR86s, to be tuned to their personal preference. So why bother putting the safety sensors when the stock bumpers will be replaced with overnight parts from Japan, right? Besides, because of this, TMP was able to bring the price of the base GR86 to PHP 2,328,000. On the other hand, the more premium six-speed auto is priced starting at PHP 2,499,000.

It is evident that Toyota was able to continue the fun sports car offering introduced through the previous-gen 86, which, in my opinion, is the true Gazoo Racing lineup pioneer. The brand was able to improve the 86 to be a more significant yet more exciting sports car, huge thanks to the data gathered by Toyota through its successful motorsport outings. The Gazoo Racing treatment worked well with the all-new GR86. Now, time to sit back and see how the new GR86 will affect the local car tuner culture.


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