Small, nimble, good looking, naturally aspirated, manual transmission, and affordable. Sounds like a recipe for fun right? You are absolutely right. We mentioned above all the ingredients that Toyota mixed together in 2013 when the highly popular Toyota GT86 hit the roads. Not only was the GT86 (also known as the Scion FR-S) incredible out of the factory, but it was also an amazing platform for modifications.
The New Toyota GR86
Today, 10 years later, Toyota is set to do it all over again. But even better. The release of the highly anticipated Toyota GR86 is something all car lovers are excited about. You can count us in.
Here are the 5 reasons why the new Toyota GR86 is the best budget sports car you can choose on the market today.
#1 – It Comes With A Manual Gearbox
If you love driving dynamics and control, you are going to be delighted to hear that the new GR86 also comes with a manual transmission. With a manual gearbox, the Toyota GR86 sprints from zero to 60 mp/h in 6.3 seconds. The automatic version on the other hand needs 0.6 seconds longer to reach the same speed. The automatic version also lags behind in top speed (134 mp/h instead of 140 mp/h).
In a sea of automatic-only sports cars, the manual gearbox option on the Toyota GR86 is exactly what the car community was craving.
#2 – It Handles Incredibly And Packs Some Serious Features
Similarly to the likes of Porsche, Toyota realized decades ago that more horsepower does not necessarily equal more fun. With the GR86, Toyota seeks to improve what the GT86 was missing. They improved the lateral rigidity of the monocoque structure by adding diagonal braces and other structural enhancements which makes the GR68 worthy of the GR title.
By serious features, we did not mean the good looking 8 inch touchscreen entertainment system. What we meant was that the 2023 GR86 also features a multilink rear suspension, a more rigid subframe, a quicker more precise steering rack and a high-end Torsen limited-slip differential. At the front, it features shock absorbers with rebound springs that have optimized spring rates and damping.
All of this combined makes the GR86 both an incredibly fun daily car and a track-focused weapon.
#3 – Toyota And Subaru Power & Reliability
When you combine the power of these two Japanese powerhouse automotive giants, the end result must be nothing short of amazing. And that is entirely true in the case of the GR86. It features a Toyota-vetted 2.4L flat-four boxer engine that delivers 228 horsepower and a 184 lb.-ft. of torque. Compared to the predecessor, the GT86, this is an 18% increase in power! Peak torque will hit you at 3,700 RPM.
The boxer engine also provides a lower center of gravity and balanced weight distribution. This makes the GR86 stand firmly on the ground which further improves its handling and safety. Did we mention it also sounds incredibly good?
#4 – It Is Actually Usable In Day-To-Day Life
If you have ever driven a true sports car on a daily basis, you already know how tiresome it can be. Like the GT86, the Toyota GR86 also handles the balance between a daily car and a track-focused car perfectly. It is still comfortable enough that it does not hurt your back on a long journey, and it has enough space and seats which allows you to do all your shopping.
Inside, the 2+2 seater features a classic, all-black cockpit with a leather multifunction steering wheel. Behind the steering wheel are digitally displayed and adjustable round instruments on a 7-inch TFT monitor, which includes a display for the G forces. Below the central air vents is an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The controls for the air conditioning are located underneath. The buttons for the ESP control, the driving modes, and the seat heating are located on the center console.
The front sports seats are tight enough to hold you through all the fast laps on the track, but still comfortable enough for daily driving. The trunk is decently sized and highly practical!
#5 – It Does Not Cost An Arm And A Leg
We kept it obvious for the end. Based on everything we listed above, you would expect a price tag that would reflect the number of features. You would be wrong. The 2023 Toyota GR86 starts at $27,900, for the base version with a manual transmission. The higher Premium trim GR86 starts at $30,500.
When it comes to pricing, the GR86 will repay you with incredible reliability, incredible handling and the overall package is honestly, worth more than what you are paying for.
Just like the GT86, we are sure that the GR86 will be an incredible platform for further custom modifications. We can’t wait to see them in our shop!
Long Live The 86’
Being a brand that produced some of the best JDM cars ever, Toyota has definitely found its stride with the current 86 series. Much like the AE86 series from the ’80s, the GR86 is paying homage to the core values of Toyota. Offering a rather simple rear-wheel sports car has proven to be the right move for Toyota and we can be other than grateful. The GR86, is without a doubt, the best budget sports car on the market today.