The 2022 Toyota GR 86 Picks up Where the Porsche 944 Left Off

After a month’s wait, the first driving impressions of the 2022 Toyota GR 86 are finally here. And given how popular Toyota’s RWD sports car and its Subaru cousin are with enthusiasts, that wait has likely been agonizing. Especially since it appears that the 2022 GR 86 fixes one of the outgoing 86’s chief problems. However, according to Hagerty’s Jason Cammisa, the GR 86 is more than a revision of the old car. It’s also a follow-up to a classic Porsche: the 944.

The 2022 Toyota GR 86 has “everything you loved about the old Toyota 86…and then some,” MotorTrend says

A red 2022 Toyota GR 86
2022 Toyota GR 86 | Toyota
Spec2022 Toyota GR 862020 Toyota 86
Engine2.4-liter flat-four2.0-liter flat-four
Power228 hp205 hp
Torque184 lb-ft156 lb-ft
TransmissionSix-speed manual
Six-speed automatic
Six-speed manual
Six-speed automatic
0-60 mph time6.1 seconds (manual)
6.6 seconds (automatic)
7.0 seconds (manual)
8.0 seconds (automatic)
Curb weight2,811 lbs (manual)
2,851 lbs (automatic)
2,776 lbs (manual)
2,817 lbs (automatic)

The biggest difference between the 2022 Toyota GR 86 and the 2020 86 is the engine. No, the GR 86 and the 2022 BRZ don’t have turbos. But the larger engine is more powerful and torquier. Speaking of torque, the 2.4-liter engine makes more of it at lower RPMs. And the ‘torque dip’ is gone, MotorTrend reports. As a result, the 2022 86 pulls harder than the old car.

However, the 2022 Toyota GR 86 offers more improvement than that. Its chassis is stiffer, and the car rides more comfortably without any extra body roll, Road & Track notes. It also rides on tweaked dampers, upgraded springs, and stiffer sway bars, Roadshow muses. Plus, it has an upgraded interior. Both the 2022 GR 86 Base and Premium trims have LED lighting, a digital gauge cluster, and an 8” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Premium adds heated leather seats, aluminum pedals, and a rear spoiler, and swaps the six-speaker audio system for an eight-speaker one.

Some things, though, haven’t changed. For example, the 2022 GR 86’s steering, which Toyota says is tuned differently than in the BRZ, is still well-weighted, accurate, and full of feedback. Plus, it still has an excellent front-to-rear weight balance and a standard limited-slip differential. Also, the extra grip from the Premium’s Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires doesn’t mean you can’t drift the GR 86. Rest assured, this RWD sports car still rotates eagerly and controllably.

Hagerty calls the 2022 Toyota GR 86 the Porsche 944’s spiritual successor

Despite the extra power, the 2022 Toyota GR 86 isn’t the fastest sporty car in its price bracket. Yes, as the video above shows, it beats the 2021 Mazda MX-5 RF in a straight line. But the 2022 Volkswagen GTI, with its 242 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, out-accelerates both of them. And while the GR 86 has a larger trunk than the Miata—as well as a back seat—the GTI beats both in terms of practicality.

However, as Hagerty’s Jason Cammisa explains in that video, that’s not the whole story. True, the GR 86 is slower in a straight line than the GTI. But its rearward weight balance and RWD mean it gets off the line faster. That also makes it sharper and more fun on a racetrack. And while the Toyota’s rear seat is rather small, it does have one, unlike the Mazda. Plus, it folds forward for more luggage space.

A lilac Porsche 944 Turbo
Porsche 944 Turbo | Porsche

That’s why Cammisa calls the 2022 86 “a perfect update on the Porsche 944 recipe.” An evolution of the earlier Porsche 924, the 944 is also a four-cylinder, RWD sports car that emphasizes handling. And while the contemporary 911 was sharper and faster, the Porsche 944 was the easier car to live with on a daily basis. Not to mention significantly more affordable.

Those qualities also describe the 2022 Toyota GR 86. It’s a fun sports car that offers enough practicality to serve as a daily driver. Oh, and it’s still fairly affordable.

How much does Toyota’s updated sports car cost?

The rear 3/4 view of a red 2022 Toyota GR 86 Premium going around a racetrack corner
2022 Toyota GR 86 Premium rear 3/4 | Toyota

As of this writing, Toyota hasn’t released full pricing details for the 2022 86. However, the automaker promises that the Base trim starts at under $30,000. And that price includes a one-year National Auto Sport Association membership and one free performance driving class.

While it’s still a Porsche bargain, the 944 goes for more than $30K these days. But if you want the closest thing to a brand-new $30,000 Porsche, Hagerty recommends taking the GR 86 for a spin.

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