Gazoo Racing (GR) has earned itself quite a bit of cachet since Akio Toyoda decided to make it the de facto performance arm of Toyota in 2009. It’s slowly supplanting Toyota Racing Development (TRD), which is still technically running the show but currently feels more like the manufacturer’s North American off-road racing division. GR has been producing global, models that actually provide enhanced performance and output from the factory while TRD has basically become the company’s in-house parts catalog.
However, Gazoo has some performance parts of its own and Toyota has been eagerly modifying the crap out of its vehicles as a way to tease them. The brand is now ready to start selling them and has re-released last month’s dual GR 86 concepts — designed to tickle the enthusiast community — with the relevant details.
When the 2022 Subaru BRZ debuted last year, our general impression was that the second-generation coupe didn’t appear all that different from the original. While excellent news for those seeking a well-balanced, lightweight sports car that can be driven aggressively on public roads or serve as a solid foundation for any number of track-focused build projects, the manufacturer decided against throwing out curveballs. The car’s purpose remains unchanged, it’s just been remade into a better version of itself. But the BRZ’s fraternal twin, the Toyota GR 86, had a few more weeks in development with President Akio Toyoda rumored to have been pushing for modifications that would help differentiate the two models — much like the automaker did with the similarly related Toyota Supra and BMW Z4.
While limited to the same hardware as the Subaru, Toyota is claiming the new GR 86 makes a tad more horsepower and is hinting it could be the more serious sporting machine. Both of those claims remain unverified and, if the duo is anything like their first-generation, deciding which is the faster 2+2 car will have almost everything to do with which rubber is on the wheels and who’s been placed into the driver’s seat. But the pilot will have an alleged advantage of 4 horsepower in the 86, forcing the BRZ to bring in Subaru Tecnica International (STI) aboard to offer some enhancements of its own.
Tokyo Auto Salon: It's The Hachi-Roku Rama! An 86, FR-S, BRZ Picture Collection, Taller Than Mt. Fuji
On Friday, we mentioned that Toyobaru’s hachi-roku absolutely dominates the Tokyo Auto Salon into total submission. Just about any booth (save that of Honda, Nissan etc.) has the almond-eyes of one or more hachi-roku looking at you. On Friday, we promised you visual proof. Here it is, and it is a monster. It is the biggest collection of hachi-roku pictures this side of Gunma.
Toyota’s Akio Toyoda never stops warning about the hollowing out of Japan’s industry. Today at the Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyoda gave a spirited speech praising the virtues of customization of the hachi-roku, Toyota’s 86 (aka GT86, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ), JDM Spec, In Japan" href="http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/review-from-the-backseat-2013-toyota-86-gt-limited-aka-gt86-scion-fr-s-subaru-brz-jdm-spec-in-japan/">(aka GT86, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ). Today at the show, one gets the impression that customizing the hachi-roku definitely is a huge growth industry.
Review From The Backseat: 2013 Toyota 86 GT Limited (aka GT86, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ), JDM Spec, In Japan
No car in recent history must have been so relentlessly covered at TTAC as the Toyota 86 and its dizzying assemblage of names and numbers. I don’t think there is an editor at TTAC who hasn’t reviewed the car at least three times. All except me. I only reviewed it twice. Something had to be done …
Dear reader, be warned: This review of a sports car with a multiple persona syndrome concentrates mostly on seating arrangements and extraneous observations in the field of bears, bodies, far-eastern religions, man-machine romance, and sex. You may miss some of the driving impressions commonly supplied. If you are interested in those, they are provided here, and here, and here. And especially here. You are welcome. Some of the more than 30 pictures may gross you out.
It’s the perfect day and the perfect road for a brisk mountain drive in the siena red Z3. For the last time this year it’s easily warm enough to put the top down—in a little over a week the remnants of Hurricane Sandy will bury the area in snow. WV15 winds tightly along a mountain ridge, flanked on each side by peaking fall foliage. Valleys far below on each side, you’re on top of the world. There’s only one problem with this soul stirring picture: my father started the day closer to Cass, and the BMW is holding me up. With the next brief straight I snick the firm, short-throw shifter into third, spur the boxer well over 4,000 rpm, and roar past him. WV15 is an even better road for a Scion FR-S en route to meet up with a pair of Mazda RX-8s for our Third Annual Appalachian Road Trip.
Some bloggers see the BRZ/FR-S (hereinafter hachi-roku) pocket racers as the second coming of Christ, others declared them as declassed by the Hyundai Genesis, the Mazda Miata PRHT (pfft), and of course by the Ford Mustang GT. The hachi-roku may not be the fastest around the race track with Jack Baruth on the wheel and an AWOL timing device. There is one race which they consistently win: The race off dealers’ lots.
We’ve already looked at the FR-S, but I came of car-driving age just minutes before the heyday of the Toyota AE86 and, by God, I’m going to write about any car that claims to be an homage to the car that stands as the ’55 Chevy of Japan. So, I got on the horn with Toyota PR: “Hey, Moe, it’s Murilee Martin. Yeah, that Murilee Martin. Listen, I’m heading out to the East Bay next weekend and I need something that won’t embarrass me when I need to out-donut the Glasshouse Caprices at the sideshows in Oakland, know what I’m saying? Sure, the FR-S sounds good!”
[Editor’s note: TTAC does not review cars, TTAC reviewers do. The reviews can be as different as the reviewers are, and they voice their opinions independently. Due to the high interest the FR-S has received, we put a whole squad of TTAC reviewers into the car, and we are not done yet.]
Alex’s initial look at the pre-production Scion FR-S had a few feathers getting ruffled in the comments section. Then came Derek’s discussion of the hype surrounding the car and his own disappointing drive, and even more feathers were bent askew. Now Jack’s had a go at dissecting the FR-S on the track (his natural environment, if not the car’s), and it’s basically been like firing chickens into a snow-blower.
So, while the little Toyobaru sits in the middle of crossfire of angry verbiage that is like, so totally not what usually happens around here, I’ll belly up to the bar. We’ve had the launch event, we’ve had the track comparo; I had the FR-S for a week to evaluate it as a daily-driver, and one thing right off the bat:
The conventions of auto writing require that we come up with at least one labored metaphor for every comparison test, so here goes: You guys remember that movie It Might Get Loud? Obviously, the Scion FR-S is Jack White: deliberately stripped-down and retro, perhaps too self-consciously context-sensitive, adored without reservation by a bunch of people who have never signed a mortgage. The Genesis 2.0t R-Spec is the Edge: a lot of sharp edges and technical brilliance intended to cover up a fundamental deficit of talent.
The Miata? Well…
“This car,” Derek Kreindler told me as we grabbed third gear down Toronto Motorsports Park’s front straight, “is like a GT-R for a guy who lives in his mother’s basement.” He had a point. Some American subcultures practice what I think of as immobile ambition — think of all those McMansions with no furniture and a double-income couple anxiously hoping someone will stop by and be impressed by the bridal staircase and crown moldings. Other subcultures are all about getting out in the street and showing off your clothes, your ride, or your woman.
Scion has had a sordid past. Originally, Scion was Toyota’s solution to a lack of 18-25 year old shoppers. Over the past 9 years however Scion has lost their way and lost their youth. Their median buyer just turned 42. The tC coupe, which started out as a car for college kids, now has a median buyer of around 30. Scion claims the FR-S is a halo car – to me, that means the FR-S will be bought by older drivers (who can actually afford it), attracting younger buyers to their showrooms. Despite being out of the target demographic, Scion flew me to Vegas to sample the FR-S’s sexy lines to find out.
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- Tassos I tried to post a link (2 mins of Trump's speech to a Detroit Supplier) but it did not show (yet).He lamented the demise of the Big 3 due to the EV mandates, and told them Idiot Joe Biden will make them bankrupt and they will all lose their jobs.The most important thing he did not mention was that none of the onetime big 3 can make a BEV at a profit, after more than a full decade of trying.What's more, The only automaker in the Free World that has been able to make a BEV at a profit and has massive sales, dwarfing all the rest BEV models put TOGETHER, is the very Domestic (But not unionized, and with good reason!) T E S L A.
- Tassos I have been a very happy Honda owner for many many decades, this clueless clown does not know what he or she is talking about, IF he refers to me in his hatchet piece.I am a big admirer of the Honda Accord, of which I owned a coupe 5 speed from 1994 to 2016, it was way underpowered by today's standards but it had excellent quality inside and out.and also the CIvic hatch, which I bought new in 1991 and owned until it was totaled (100% the other guy's fault) in 2016, which was the perfect city car, (as its latin name suggests, illiterates) very lightweight and quick on its feed despite its modest HP.I also was always impressed by the Accord Hybrid, which has the same stellar MPG as the Camry Hybrid, but with far more satisfying driving dynamics and styling.So again, Christine, what the hell are you talking about?????
- TheEndlessEnigma Here comes the Tassos rant...
- Jeff Good to read a review on a car that many readers can afford and agree on as a solid choice.
- Ajla The V6 Accord was so popular with internet car website commenters that it turned into a meme. I don't think this current gen carries on that tradition though, many reviews make it sound like a regression. I think the Ford Maverick is the new internet sweetheart.Or the Kia Telluride, which is objectively the greatest ICE vehicle of all time.