A red 2022 Toyota GR86 sports car

Toyota has again partnered with Subaru to develop an entry-level sports car.

The automakers previously partnered on the Scion FR-S (now known as the Toyota 86) and Subaru BRZ, launched for 2012. Those low-slung four-cylinder coupes were nearly identical, with little beyond badges distinguishing them.

The rear-drive cars shined for agility, creating an entertaining driving experience rivaled only by the Mazda MX-5 Miata at that price point.

For 2022 the two companies have teamed up to create the second-generation sports coupes. The formula, and indeed the physical dimensions, remain the same as before. But this time each company pledges to have a more distinct personality to represent their brands.

Subaru showed its BRZ in fall 2020, revealing a sports car that looks much like the current model, with the addition of a body kit.

Toyota has since taken the wraps off its version, dubbed GR86 in reference to its Gazoo Racing performance group. And it looks just like the BRZ, aside from a unique grille shape. As the calendar counts down to the on-sale date, Toyota has released the U.S. specs on its version, and predictably, they are much like the BRZ. 

Here's what we know thus far.

What it competes with: Mazda MX-5 Miata, Honda Civic Si, Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec, Subaru BRZ, Volkswagen GTI
What it looks like: A current Toyota 86 with a body kit
Powertrains: 228-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine; 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
Price: $28,000-$33,000 (estimated)
On-sale date: Fall 2021

CR's Take

Given how enjoyable the current 86 is to drive, we have high hopes for the GR86. The increased engine displacement should bring some welcomed low-end grunt to both the BRZ and GR86.

With the current cars, there's scant difference in how they feel from behind the wheel. But for this next generation, Toyota says “the two companies focused on imbuing their respective models with a distinct driving feel.”

It has recent experience with doing just that. BMW and Toyota have a similar partnership for the Z4 roadster and Supra sports car. Both cars use a BMW engine and chassis, akin to the synergy between the GR86 and BRZ (shown below).  

Outside

A red 2022 Toyota GR86 (left) and a blue Subaru BRZ (right)
A 2022 Toyota GR86 and a Subaru BRZ

The GR86 is technically a redesign. Its body is new, though decidedly evolutionary. The height, width, length, and wheelbase are nearly identical to the outgoing model. The 2022 GR86 does have more exterior flair, with bolder fenders and neat headlamps.

The trailing edge of the front fenders has a dramatic scoop that flows into the rocker panel, under the doors. It makes the car look like it's been given the "Fast & Furious" treatment, with a tasteful body kit.

The front of the Toyota is distinguished from the Subaru with its own grille design, but the cars look identical from the rear.

Overall, the car looks more upscale, with an attention-grabbing design that suggests heightened performance.  

Inside

2022 Toyota GR86 interior

The intimate cabin closely resembles that of the BRZ.

The central instrument display uses a 7-inch screen that changes as the driver selects from Normal, Sport, and Track modes. In Track mode, it shows gear selection, rpms, water temperature, and oil temperature. 

The steering wheel again has three spokes, and there's a large, circular vent outlet near the windshield pillar.

The aluminum pedal covers are a nice touch, adding to the “tuned” appearance. Generous use of contrasting stitching, seat accents, and colorful door trim add to the sporty look.  

Overall, it looks strikingly similar to the current car, with three rotary controls under the central screen and togglelike switches below. 

There's an 8-inch infotainment screen. The car comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and a suite of subscription-based connected services. With the premium trims, the speaker count moves from six to eight. 

2022 Toyota GR86 back seat and cargo area

What Drives It

The GR86 shares the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with the BRZ, marking a displacement increase from the 2.0-liter engine in the outgoing model. Power climbs from 205 hp to 228 hp, without the use of a turbo. Peak torque arrives as a lower rpm, promising a more urgent feel, especially around town.

There will be a choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, making it among the few cars available with a stick shift.  

In keeping with its track ambitions, the GR86 comes with a one-year membership to the National Auto Sport Association, including access to a high-performance driving event with expert instruction.

Free maintenance is included for the first two years or 25,000 miles.

2022 Toyota GR86 engine

Safety and Driver Assistance Systems

Every GR86 comes with Toyota's Star Safety System, a bundle of basic safety and assist equipment. This includes stability control and brake assist. The active safety systems are only available with the automatic transmission, and they include automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. 

2022 Toyota GR86 rear