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2023 Toyota GR86 Singapore Review - 2.4 (M)

The Toyota GR86 is a lightweight two door sports coupe and is known as the baby GR Supra. The GR86 features a 2.4 litre boxer engine with a 6-speed manual transmission which is good for 225 bhp and 250 Nm of torque. Currently it is not available in Singapore with other transmissions options such as an automatic transmission.

Lightweight & Agile

One of the cornerstones of the GR86 and the Toyota 86 line of cars in the past is its lightweight nature, low centre of gravity, and its agility as a sports car. Now in its second generation, Toyota has stuck to those principles and built a car that is worthy of its predecessors. While certain modern luxuries such as an 8 inch touchscreen infotainment unit have been included, but the car's designers have resisted the urge to throw too many creature comforts at the GR86, which is a good thing.

A good and simple example is the GR86's sports seats, which are still 100% manually operated - no doubt contributing to the car's admirable 1,291kg kerb weight. Another thing that is manually operated in the GR86 is of course it's transmission, which sees a 6 speed manual mated to a front mounted boxer engine, producing up the 225 bhp and 250 Nm of torque through a rear wheel drive setup.

A clear result of the GR86's light weight can be seen in the way the car handles wonderfully. It is direct, keeps a tight centre of gravity, and you almost always feel like you are planted right in the middle of things - which means you aren't being thrown around or plastered to your door panels when you decide to apply the car more spiritedly. Like a fitting glove, the GR86 allows the driver to wield it extremely easily. without any real need to compensate or account for too much inertia as experienced in some heavier continental sports coupes.

A Pure & Unadulterated Driving Experience

The interior is simple, made mostly out of lightweight materials, and provides just enough features for your day to day comfort - but truly, you're not really keeping score here, because all you want to do when you get into the GR86 is drive. From the moment you get into the car, the cockpit design makes you feel like a fighter pilot in a dogfighting jet. Couple this with my excitement to be behind the wheel of a manual car again, this was a real treat for me. And mind you, this wasn't just any manual car either, but a legend in the making.

For me, driving the GR86 brought about many thoughts and feelings, but predominant amongst them, was how connected I felt as a driver, not just to the car, but to the process of piloting the vehicle. It is not just a physical connection when you go through the gears, or feel the engine vibrations through the shifter when you're going a little too slowly in third gear either - there is also an emotional connection. You feel like you're in a relationship with everything the car does, and you feel a satisfaction when it does what you tell it to do. I'd imagine it to be akin to when your dog does exactly what you want while being off leash, and I mean this in the best way possible.

The Legend Lives On

Though there isn't a direct lineage between the GR86 we see today and the original AE86, a lot of the fundamentals that make the car such a cult favourite have been kept intact. A light weight, two door, rear wheel drive setup with a low centre of gravity all point toward the GR86 being a sideway friendly, torque focussed driving instrument. Overall, the car feels true to its roots, and doesn't try too hard to pander to the modern luxuries expected of cars today. In a world where the lines between a modern sports car and a luxury car are increasingly blurred, the GR86 just seems to want to do its own thing. If that's not legendary, I don't know what is.

Who Will it Appeal to?

The GR86 is not the kind of sports car that will appeal to everybody. It's lightweight nature means that it isn't the most profoundly insulated, which means the humming of the boxer engine does permeate the cabin quite a bit. Even at top gear, the car still holds its revs on the higher side of things, so it's quite highly strung in a sense. However, if you're a motoring purist who wants an affordable and unadulterated sports car driving experience, complete with a manual transmission and an immense sense of connectivity to the road, it's hard to find a new car on the market that is more organic and nimble than the GR86. In our books, that makes the GR86 one of the coolest Toyotas you can buy today. If however, you're keen to explore a completely different kind of cool with a totally different breed of Toyota, check out our review of the Toyota BZ4X, Toyota's very first EV.


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