The second-generation Subaru BRZ debuted late last year with an updated 2.4-liter Boxer engine making 228 horsepower. Now its badge-engineered twin, the 2021 Toyota GR 86 has debuted claiming four more horsepower over the new Subie, despite sharing most of the same hardware.
The Subaru BRZ debuted in 2012 with a fraternal twin to compete against, the Toyota 86. The combined effort between two rival companies made for a pair of successful and fulfilling enthusiast products and brought a new generation of fans to both brands, so naturally we’re getting round two. It just seems a little more competitive this time.
It was reported last month that Toyota boss Akio Toyoda allegedly requested changes to the upcoming 86 sports car to better differentiate it from the Subaru it’s based on. Now it seems like that may have resulted in a slight power tune.
The GR 86 announcement also suggests that the vehicles may be tuned differently, as the GR development team reworked the front bumper design and, I imagine, got their hands on the rest of the car and its computer, too. From the news release:
While engaging in friendly rivalry with the BRZ development team, TGR sought to develop a vehicle that would provide happiness to 86 fans, and realize an evolution of the 86's unique driving sensations. As a result, the new GR 86 is specially designed for sports performance, and provides direct and satisfying driving performance of the highest order.
Beyond those minor differences, the cars are otherwise identical. The GR 86 will come standard with a six-speed manual transmission or available six-speed auto, Subaru’s Eye-Sight suite of driver assistance and collision avoidance tech, and a claimed improvement of torsional rigidity in the body of “approximately 50 percent.”
The car is still front-engine, rear-wheel drive with a 2.4-liter horizontally-opposed Boxer engine slung low in the bay. Toyota claims a 1.1-second improvement from 0 to 62 mph, now in 6.3 seconds, and I’m assuming that’s with the standard stick shift. No pricing for either the Subaru nor Toyota has been announced yet, but both will probably start just above $30,000.
Does the tiny power difference and potential for a “GR” tune on the new 86 give it the edge of the new BRZ for you? Or are you in STI’s corner? As with the previous generation, I think the Subaru design is slightly more elegant among the pair, but the new 86 looks are also a big improvement over the old one. The Subaru debuted in silver paint, but this red paint job really enhances the arc of the GR 86's dramatic roofline. Either way, the new Nissan Z should be nervous.