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When it comes to today’s sports cars, lightning-fast dual-clutch transmissions and driver aids dominate the space. However, sometimes manufacturers stick to the fundamentals, like with the charmingly analog Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86. What’s more, the Japanese stick-shift coupes snagged two prestigious awards for the third year in a row.

The Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ earned 10Best awards from Car and Driver for the third year in a row

An orange Toyota GR86 shows off its sports car styling.
Toyota GR86 | Toyota

It’s not a frequent occurrence for a sports car nameplate to snag a Car and Driver 10Best for consecutive years. However, the 2024 Toyota GR86 and 2024 Subaru BRZ have done just that. In a dwindling budget sports car segment, the two coupes manage to outshine their closest competition, the long-running Mazda MX-5.

The source of the GR86 and BRZ’s greatness? Both cars shrug off forced induction, all-wheel drive (AWD), and even large-displacement engines in favor of a back-to-basics approach. Both cars pack the same rev-happy flat-four-cylinder engine and an optional six-speed manual transmission. That formula is quintessential driver’s car territory, an attribute many pricier sports car options lose in an increasingly technological market.    

Is the Toyota GR86 the same as the Subaru BRZ?

A brief look at the Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ reveals how related the two sibling sports cars are. The two are twins. Specifically, they share the same engine, transmission options, and strikingly similar exterior styling. 

However, Car and Driver reports that the Toyota is a bit more stiff and composed on-track. Still, both cars are supple enough to tackle daily driving as well as corner carving.  

What the sibling Japanese sports coupes lack in power, they make up with driving dynamics and value

The 2.4L flat-four-cylinder engine produces a paltry 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. While that’s anemic compared to a hulking Ford Mustang GT or Toyota GR Supra 3.0, the siblings deliver exceptional value.

ModelStarting price
2023 Toyota GR86$29,495
2023 Subaru BRZ$29,615

The Subaru BRZ gets a modest price bump for 2024, taking the starting price from $29,615 to $31,315. Still, both cars are lighter and sharper than comparable four-cylinder sports coupes like the Ford Mustang EcoBoost. Furthermore, the Subaru and Toyota sports cars outmuscle the Mazda MX-5 by a whopping 47 horsepower. As a result, the award-winning sports cars reside in a happy spot within the segment.

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