The Right Spec: 2022 Toyota GR 86

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
the right spec 2022 toyota gr 86

When Toyota and Subaru shacked up nearly a decade ago to birth the 86/BRZ twins, our enthusiast community rejoiced at the bundle of joy. Here was an affordable, rear-wheel-drive coupe on skinny tires that was designed to make its driver grin – both on the way to work and at the autocross course.

The next-gen car, called the GR 86 in Toyota showrooms, builds on the nimble chassis while bumping its displacement for more (and more accessible) power. There are but two trims – base and Premium – plus the choice of a manual or automatic transmission. You know our answer to the latter, so let’s figure out which trim is more appealing to the fun-seeking gearhead.

In case you’ve been under an especially virulent rock, let’s run down some of the highlights. A 53/47 weight balance and a low-slung 51.6-inch overall height combine with a 228hp flat-four engine to give the GR 86 all the right ingredients for weekday (and weekend) fun. A torque figure of 184 lb-ft might not impress those of us rocking naturally aspirated V8 engines in our daily drivers but it’s worth noting all that twist is now on tap at 3,700 rpm which makes the mill much more usable in everyday conditions. If you’re wondering, Toyota increased engine size by upping the cylinder bore. A run to 60 mph should now take about 6.1 seconds for stick-shift models.

It is promised that all the good colors like Track bRED and Trueno Blue will be available on both trims, not just the Premium. LED lamps, front and rear, also appear on the base car thanks to the wonderful thing called economies of scale. Same goes for the chrome-tipped exhaust and GR badging, plus interior gubbins like the jumbo infotainment screen. The main exterior visual distinctions on Premium are a set of 18-inch tires and a distinctive spoiler; in other words, people will immediately know you’re rocking the base trim – if you care what others think. The powertrain is the same across both cars.

Pricing is still fluid ahead of the car’s November launch, but Toyota suits say it’ll remain under 30 grand. Also, there’s no reason to think the delta between existing base and GT trims (a $2,850 walk) won’t be reprised for the new entry-level and Premium trims, giving us a rough benchmark for making a decision. Shown in these images is the base car – yes, that’s the smaller of the two available rear spoilers.

Which brings us back to the original GR 86 question: base or Premium? While the latter does have larger tires and a natty duckbill spoiler, that entry-level trim keeps weight to a minimum (2,811 pounds) by doing without the likes of snazzier front seats and an eight-speaker sound system plus a few other safety nannies. The base car will be our choice, since it makes the most of its too-fun platform and leaves a few bucks for track tires or – if you wish – other go-fast add-ons.

Please note the prices listed here are in American bucks and currently accurate for base prices exclusive of any fees, taxes, or rebates. Your dealer may (and should) sell for less, obscene market conditions notwithstanding. Keep your foot down, bone up on available rebates, and bargain hard.

[Images: Toyota]

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8 of 34 comments
  • 05lgt 05lgt on Sep 04, 2021

    What makes this car compelling vs. a Miata? I want there to be an answer and have not figured it out on my own.

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  • Jbtvt Jbtvt on Sep 04, 2021

    According to there have been 20 Bolt fires, which puts the ratio more like 4 gas/diesel fires to 1 Bolt fire. Either way, the difference is that every gas fire I've ever seen has resulted from an accident. Also worth noting is that as a high-mileage driver, a significant percentage of fires/burnt shells by the highway that I see are semi trucks that burned from the trailer-end, either from the load inside catching fire or brakes dragging and starting a fire, but I'd imagine these get classed in with the othes as "gas/diesel" fires. I'm not anti-electric, but there's a big difference between a car crash causing a gas fire and knowing that there's a .000001% chance or whatever it may be that the car parked underneath or 30' away from one's bedroom might spontaneously erupt in flames while they sleep. Risks within one's control usually feel less threatening than those outside of it.

  • Jeanbaptiste Any variant of “pizza” flavored combos. I only eat these on car trips and they are just my special gut wrenching treat.
  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.