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The Toyota GR86 is a back-to-basics approach to a small sports coupe. While that might sound a bit spartan for today’s tech-savvy sports car market, the Toyota model nails it. However, it’s not all spirited shifting and dynamic driving; the GR86 has a big problem many reviewers can’t seem to get past. The 2023 Toyota GR86 isn’t exactly a pleasing soundtrack. 

What problems does the GR86 have?

The Toyota GR86 has many redeeming features, like driver’s car fun, top safety scores from the IIHS, and handsome styling compared to the previous generation. However, the GR86’s most significant problem is arguably the sports coupe’s soundtrack. 

That’s right, like a straight-piped Ford Mustang with a 5.0L Coyote V8, the GR86 produces noise, not music. The culprit is the Toyota model’s flat four-cylinder engine. The 2.4L H4 produces a healthy 228 horsepower, but it’s not exactly melodious. Instead, Car and Driver describes it as sounding “like it’s got a stomachache.” It’s not just them, either; TrueCar also describes the Toyota model’s voice as displeasing.

It’s unfortunate but not a deal-breaker. The GR86’s capable and rev-happy flat four-cylinder engine makes for a fun, affordable driver’s car rivaled only by its Subaru sibling, the BRZ. However, the little Toyota sports car is let down by its song, which is, well, flat. It’s certainly not up to the task of sounding like the turbocharged flat four-cylinder mill in the pricier Porsche 718 Cayman.  

The 2023 Toyota GR86 shows off its problem-free design and orange paintwork.
2023 Toyota GR86 | Toyota

Is the GR86 loud?

In addition to engine and exhaust noise, the 2023 Toyota GR86 permits an unfortunate amount of road noise. As a result, driving the Toyota model is a somewhat loud experience. However, the GR86 isn’t a luxury car; it’s a taut, sharp sports car.  

The GR86’s standard six-speed manual transmission and noisy powerplant are a solid pairing. Also, to its credit, Car and Driver says the 2023 model sounds better than the previous-generation 86. 

What can you do to improve the sound of your Toyota GR86?

Just about any vehicle could benefit from an aftermarket exhaust system, including a GR86. For instance, companies like Corsa and Borla offer exhaust systems like axle-back and cat-back packages. Moreover, determined fans can order a complete exhaust system from Japan made of robust and lightweight material like Titanium. 

Is the Toyota GR86 worth buying?

Although the 2023 Toyota GR86 has a noisy engine and permits a bit too much road noise, it’s one of the best sports car bargains on the market for fans who want a driver’s car with a manual transmission. Better yet, the GR86’s manageable power reserves make for a vehicle that operators can push hard. Pair the Toyota’s affordable starting price with rear-wheel drive (RWD) and tight handling, and the GR86 is definitely worth buying. 

What do you think about the GR86’s soundtrack? Is it a non-starter, or do you like the Toyota model’s sound? Tell us in the comments below!


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