The 2022 Toyota GR 86 features a larger, more-powerful engine, revised aerodynamics and a redesigned interior. (Toyota)

Toyota muscles-up 4-cylinder for revised 2022 GR 86 coupe

With sportscar sales flagging, Toyota specs a larger engine and other significant updates for the affordable 2-plus-2 coupe it co-engineered with Subaru.

The vision of two or more automakers cost-sharing development for a vehicle isn’t a new one. It’s been particularly useful in recent years, however, for manufacturers that don’t wish to abandon an out-of-fashion segment. The sport coupe – of all sizes and prices – is one such segment. Toyota happens to have two coupes co-engineered with separate partners – BMW for the Supra (BMW’s version is the Z4) and Subaru for the affordably-priced 86 (Subaru’s version is the BRZ).

But even with cost-sharing, recent returns are not encouraging. For the first half of 2021, Toyota sold just 1,034 copies of the 86. Apart from the discontinued Yaris, the 86 is the lowest-selling model in the Toyota lineup, outsold so far this year by even the fuel-cell-powered Mirai electric vehicle. Hoping to rekindle the appeal of the 86 (launched as the Scion FR-S in 2013), Toyota once again is adding power to the light-ish, rear-wheel-drive coupe, as well as a redesigned interior and a bevy of chassis upgrades – all bundled for 2022 under the car’s new badge of GR (for Toyota’s Gazoo Racing team) 86.

Larger flat-4
The headline feature for the 2022 GR 86 is a horizontally opposed 2.4L 4-cylinder to replace the car’s outgoing 2.0L flat-4 notorious for a vexing torque chasm in the middle of its rev range. Punching out the 2.0L engine to 2.4L – partner Subaru developed this engine and uses it, in turbocharged form, in the large Ascender SUV – yields a power increase from of 23 hp over the outgoing 2.0L’s 205 hp. Better still is the torque enhancement and the quality of it, going from 156 lb-ft (212 Nm) to 184 lb-ft (249 Nm) peaking at 3700 rpm, compared to the previous engine’s 6600-rpm torque peak. Although media weren’t yet permitted to drive the new GR 86, Toyota promises the engine banishes the previous engine’s midrange torque hiccup.

A larger bore (from 86 mm to 94 mm) combines with intake and exhaust enhancements and a revision to the D4S combined direct- and port fuel-injection system to account for the power and torque increases. The company said the newfound power drops 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) times from 7 sec. to 6.1 sec. for the 6-speed manual transmission. It cuts 1.4 sec. from the uncomfortably leisurely 8 sec. required for the 0-60 run with the former engine coupled with the 6-speed automatic transmission.

The automatic transmission features more clutch discs that help to increase torque capacity and adaptive algorithms with brake and accelerator sensor inputs to help select the optimal gear. The 6-speed manual is strengthened to handle the larger engine’s torque, while low-viscosity oil and revised strut bearings improve clutch performance.

Reinforced chassis, new interior
The 2022 GR 86 has new front and rear frame reinforcements that increase rigidity and improve overall handling, Toyota said. The chassis strengthening is augmented by newly functional fender vents to extract air from the engine bay and wheel area, improving steering response, Toyota said, for the car that weighs as little as 2800 lb (1270 kg).

A heavily revised interior is highlighted by an all-new instrument cluster featuring a 7-inch TFT central display with Normal, Sport and Track themes. There also is a new design and materials for the front seats. The company’s Star Safety System is standard for both standard and premium trims.

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