Toyota’s feisty GR86 GTS sport coupé ignites the racer in us all

Start your engines with Toyota's GR86 GTS Sport Coupé

Thu 30 Mar 23


Unfurling my 6ft frame from Toyota’s GR86 GTS sport coupé gave passers-by an impression of a human version of the Swiss Army knife – screwdriver, can opener, mini-saw, scissors, nail clippers and two blades.

Yes seven positions are mandatory for the taller among us. Your bum almost touches the ground on entry which is good as it allows you to twist your neck and pull in your head. More a drop in and climb out, rather than a more graceful shuffle in and shuffle out.

The typical height of the average Japanese citizen is recorded at 5 ft 10 or 178 cm, a nice fit in the GR86 but a real challenge for Orora Satoshi, Japan’s heaviest-ever sumo wrestler weighing 292 kg and standing 1.90 kg (6ft 3 in.)

Another driver refused entry to the GR 86 was Wood Central co-publisher Jason Ross who ‘dwarfs’ Orora at 6ft 4 in. in his sox.

“Let me give you a hand, old boy,” said the smart-arsed keeper of cars, heaving me out of the GR86. “Now you can climb into that big baby over there.”

Inside the GR86… two-tone ‘ultra-suede’ upholster and grippy, body-hugging bucket seats with support pads.

Dominic points to the massive Nissan Navara SL Warrior 2+2 dual cab pickup panting on the runway.

Big climb indeed. The Warrior measures 1828.25 mm in height, 5260 mm in length, 1850 mm in width with a 3150 mm wheelbase that brings about a total 2033 kg of unladen weight, all balanced on four massive Cooper all-terrain tyres.

(But more about the ‘baby’ in a separate story).

Once seated, in surprising comfort, the GR86 GTS greets you with your favourite tunes on the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto displayed on an 8 in. colour touchscreen and played through a six-speaker audio system. Adding to inner style are two-tone ‘ultra-suede’ upholstery, red stitching and vanity mirrors, aluminium pedals and grippy, body-hugging bucket seats with support pads.

Set the driving position with manual tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment and enjoy the premium grip of a genuine leather steering wheel.

Enthusiasts have waited a decade for the new Toyota GR86 but it’s a much-improved package, with only one problem…you’ll need to watch the video to find out 👉. Footage courtesy of @carsales

The front end of the GR86 does a decent impersonation of a Jaguar F-Type with sleek LED lights and prominent front splitter. The gung-ho racer image – this time painted ‘storm black’ – has been toned down, but not abandoned – chunky twin rear exhausts and black 10-spoke 18-in. wheels on the GTS (17-in. silver on the GT).

Regardless of going GT or GTS, the engine is a 2.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine adapted from a Subaru design but fitted with Toyota’s direct injection technology. A stiffer chassis and upsized engine deliver 174 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque. With six-speed manual or automatic transmission and paddle shift it brings out the race driver in all of us.

The new engine allows the GR86 to sprint to 100 km/h in a feisty 6.3 seconds.

Once again, rear seats aren’t seats so much as expanded storage spaces. You could use them in a tight squeeze, but don‘t try it!

This is a brilliantly simple front engine rear-wheel drive car backed by more than six decades of Toyota motorsport.

Toyota knows it’s on to the right track; the GR86 sold out in the UK in a matter of hours, and allocation in Australia is going to be tight and in-demand with only 1100 cars expected to arrive this year, so waiting time could be up to 18 months.

The base GT is $43,240 before on-roads, the GTS $45,390 plus charges. Selecting manual or auto doesn’t change the price, despite the three-pedal version missing out on autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.

But the GR86 GTS sport coupé still represents good value.


  • Orson Whiels

    Orson Whiels has been a motoring writer for many years and was motoring writer at Queensland Country life in the 1960s-70s and then motoring editor at Australian Timberman.)


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