Skip to main content

A decade ago, Toyota introduced its back-to-basics sports coupe, the 86. It was a hit among car enthusiasts for its affordability, small size, lightweight build, and thrilling driving experience. In 2022, Toyota once again made waves with the redesigned 2022 Toyota GR86, a mechanical twin to the Subaru BRZ.

It boasted significant improvements, including a powerful engine and new styling, but remained as affordable as the Subaru BRZ. The 2023 model year brings even more excitement with the introduction of the GR86 Special Edition.

But what does the mysterious number 86 in its name mean? This guide will explore the significance of the GR and the 86 in the Toyota GR86.

A brief history of Toyota GR86

A red Toyota GR86 parked indoors.
Toyota GR86 | Manfred Schmid via Getty Images

The Toyota GR86 was first introduced in 2022 as the successor to the Toyota 86, which had captured the hearts of driving enthusiasts for over a decade.

The Toyota 86 was unveiled at the December 2011 Tokyo Motor Show and officially went on sale in March 2012. It was developed in collaboration with Subaru and was marketed under various names, such as the Toyota 86, Toyota GT86, Toyota FT86, and the Scion FR-S, depending on the country.

Over the years, it received several significant updates, starting with a series of improvements in 2015. By the end of its first generation in 2021, it was equipped with a powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 200 hp for the automatic and 205 hp for the manual transmission.

The 86 was one of the most popular sports coupes on the market. With the launch of the GR86 in 2022, Toyota builds on the legacy of the 86, delivering a more thrilling and dynamic driving experience for car enthusiasts.

What does “GR” in Toyota GR86 mean?

In 2007, a team of student test drivers and mechanics participated in the 24 Hours Nürburgring race. They were not allowed to use the name “Works Toyota Racing,” so they went by “Team Gazoo.” “Gazoo” was the name of a portal site that Toyota was involved in establishing.

From 2009, the team continued to participate in the Nürburgring race under “Gazoo Racing,” with the goal of training people and cars at the Nürburgring. The scope of Gazoo Racing expanded when Akio Toyoda became the President of Toyota in 2009. Fast-forward to 2015, all motorsports activities were unified under “Gazoo Racing.” In 2017, the Gazoo Racing Company was established.

In 2019, Toyota released the first GR brand-exclusive car, the GR Supra. They released the GR Yaris in 2020 and established the GR factory to produce GR-branded vehicles. GR86 was introduced in 2021.

The letters “GR” mean “Gazoo Racing” and represent the legacy of Toyota’s passion for racing and the expertise gained from participating in motorsports.

What does “86” in Toyota GR86 mean?

The meaning behind the number “86” in the Toyota GR86 has its roots in the iconic Toyota Corolla GT coupe of the mid-1980s.

The number “86” was part of the car’s chassis code, stamped onto the vehicle identification number plate. The chassis code of the Toyota Corolla GT coupe comprised four characters: A, E, 8, and 6. This coding system led to Toyota enthusiasts referring to the Toyota Corolla GT coupe as the AE86. It was called the Hachi-Roku in Japan, which means “Eight-Six.”

Unlike other models in the Corolla GT coupe line, the AE86 kept its rear-wheel drive chassis, which contributed to its reputation as a high-performance vehicle. Today, the spirit of the original AE86 lives on in the Toyota GR86, an affordable modern sports coupe that pays homage to its classic predecessor.

Overview of the Toyota GR86

The Toyota GR86, the successor to the beloved 86 sports coupe, was released in 2022 along with the Subaru BRZ.

Toyota has kept what made the original 86 so beloved and addressed its weaknesses. The GR86 maintains the same dimensions as its predecessor while utilizing a lighter aluminum construction.

The interior was one of the 86’s weakest points. The GR86 addresses it by offering a well-built and functional cabin with a layered dashboard. It has comfortable front seats, an intuitive infotainment system, and practical cargo space.

The GR86 is powered by a 2.4-liter engine that produces 228 hp. It comes with a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, and you can get peak torque at 3,700 RPM instead of the 6,600 RPM of the 86.

The GR86 is available in three trim levels: Base, Premium, and the 10th Anniversary Special Edition released in 2023.

A favorite among car enthusiasts

The Toyota GR86 is a modern sports coupe that builds on the legacy of the Toyota 86, a popular back-to-basics sports coupe introduced a decade ago.

The “GR” stands for “Gazoo Racing,” representing Toyota’s passion for racing and expertise from its motorsports activities. The “86” pays homage to the iconic Toyota Corolla GT coupe of the mid-1980s, which had the same numbers as part of its chassis code.

The Toyota GR86 continues to deliver a thrilling driving experience with its powerful engine, agile handling, and sleek styling, making it a favorite among car enthusiasts.


2023 Toyota GR86 vs. Ford Mustang EcoBoost: Practical Sports Car Showdown