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The rear 3/4 view of a red 2022 Toyota GR86 Premium at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show

The 2022 Toyota GR86 Might Hit Harder Than Toyota Claims

An independent tuner, Paragon Performance, measured a 2022 Toyota GR86 on its dynamometer and found the sports car makes more horsepower and torque than advertised. But while reports of underrated engines aren't unheard-of, Toyota might not actually be sandbagging its sports car.

This year, Toyota turned a good, affordable sports car into a fantastic one with the 2022 GR86. And while it’s not the only thing Toyota and Subaru changed, the car’s new, more powerful engine is certainly a star attraction. However, the GR86’s engine upgrade could be even better than we thought. Or rather, it could be even better than Toyota says it is.

A dynamometer run suggests Toyota could be underrating the 2022 GR86

The rear 3/4 view of a red 2022 Toyota GR86 Premium at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show
2022 Toyota GR86 Premium rear 3/4 | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

Now, the 2022 Toyota GR86 already has a better engine than the previous-gen version. It’s still a naturally-aspirated boxer four-cylinder, but it’s a 2.4-liter one instead of a 2.0-liter one. As a result, the 2022 GR86 makes 23 more horsepower and 28 more lb-ft of torque for a total of 228 hp and 184 lb-ft. And hallelujah, the torque dip is gone. But according to new information from a tuning shop, Toyota might be sandbagging its boxer a bit.

Iowa-based Paragon Performance recently ran a 2022 GR86 on its dynamometer to get a baseline before it started tuning work. Said dynamometer is a chassis dyno, which reports horsepower and torque at the rear wheels, rather than at the crank. When Toyota claims the 2.4-liter boxer makes 228 hp, that’s crank horsepower, measured before drivetrain losses. Those losses vary from car to car, but the industry standard assumption is 15%, Road & Track says.

According to Paragon Performance’s dyno, the 2022 GR86 makes 215 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. Note, that’s already more power and torque than the old car made at the crank. But if you factor in a 15% drivetrain loss, that works out to 247 hp and 196 lb-ft of torque at the crank. That’s only eight horsepower off the Toyota Supra 2.0, which is heavier than the GR86 and BRZ.

This isn’t the first time someone’s claimed automakers underrate their engines

The 2.4-liter boxer engine in a red 2022 Toyota GR86 Premium
2022 Toyota GR86 Premium engine bay | Toyota

Speaking of the Supra, that’s another Toyota sports car that was seemingly underrated from the factory. Car and Driver hooked the 2021 Supra 3.0 to its dyno in 2020 and found it made 388 hp and 426 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. That’s six more horsepower and 58 more lb-ft than Toyota claims it makes at the crank.

But it’s not like Toyota is the only carmaker that seemingly does this, R&T notes. Last year, Illinois tuner IND Distribution ran a 2021 BMW M4 on its dyno. Officially, in non-Competition form, it makes 473 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque at the crank. But IND Distribution’s dyno said it makes 465 hp and 409 lb-ft at the rear wheels. Assuming a 15% drivetrain loss, that’s 535 hp and 470 lb-ft at the crank.

Also, for a long time, Japanese automakers had a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ that capped official ratings at 276 hp. Note the ‘official’ part; IRL, the cars were more powerful. But no one broke the agreement on paper until Nissan released the 395-hp R33 Skyline GT-R 400R.

So, if the 2022 Toyota GR86 is more powerful in reality than on paper, it wouldn’t necessarily be shocking. That is if that’s genuinely the case.

Does the 2022 Toyota GR86 actually make more horsepower than advertised?

Admittedly, there have been instances of automakers allegedly underrating certain cars’ horsepower ratings to ‘protect’ more expensive flagships. However, don’t take Paragon Performance’s Toyota GR86 dyno results out of context.

Firstly, to quote R&T verbatim, “you shouldn’t trust dyno numbers.” Dynamometer results can vary widely between runs on the same car. That’s not because the dyno is broken, but because of setting changes. Hypothetical aero drag and gauge-readout corrections are just some of the adjustable factors, and when dyno operators tweak them, the results change. Hence why dyno results, although useful for tuning purposes, aren’t meant to be concrete results, R&T says.

Secondly, although the ‘15% powertrain loss’ was accurate for a long time, it’s not anymore. Again, every car is different, but generally, modern powertrain losses are closer to 10%. And a modern rear-wheel-drive car like the 2022 GR86 may lose even less.

Thirdly, manufacturer horsepower and torque ratings aren’t pulled from one dyno run. No matter how precisely a company makes its engines, some will be slightly more powerful than others. And even if Toyota were to repeatedly dyno-test one 2022 GR86, the results wouldn’t necessarily be consistent. Thus, manufacturers calculate an engine’s power and torque using data from hundreds if not thousands of runs.

In short, just because Paragon Performance’s dyno suggests that the GR86 is more powerful than advertised doesn’t mean it actually is. But there is something else the dyno showed that you can believe—no torque dip.

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