The Toyota GT86 was developed as a joint enterprise between Toyota and Subaru. Both the GT86 and the Subaru BRZ are built at Subaru’s manufacturing site in Gunma, Japan.
The GT86/BRZ was launched in 2012 as a 2+2 Sports Fastback Coupe. Toyota originally showcased the design as a concept car in 2007 labelled the ‘FT-HS’, A year later Toyota acquired the Fuji Heavy Industries company which came bundled with Subaru leading to a joint cooperation on this and other cars.
In the USA it was marketed through Scion as the FRS and was actually allocated a higher unit count than the other two brands. In the first year 7,000 units went to Toyota, 6,000 to Subrau but Scion had 10,000 vehicles.
The car featured a 2.0litre naturally aspirated engine driving the rear wheels. Even the engine wasa joint effort as it is based on a flat-four design from Subaru but with Toyota’s fuel injection system. All three badged variants are offered with a both a 6-speed Toyota TL70 manual or the A960E automatic which was also used in the Lexus IS 250.
In standard for the 200PS (197hp) engine can hurtle along to 100kmh in 7,6 seconds and reach a top speed of 145mph.
In Japan the GT86 is available in ‘RC’ trim for thise who wish to modify and race the car. This is a very basic spec with few frillsand the manual 6-speed gearbox. The bumpers are unpainted, it has 16” steel wheels, no air-con or stereo system. The only other market to get its hands on this RC variant is New Zealand, everywhere else we get all the bells, whistles and ‘luxuries’ whether we want them or not. Subaru followed suit and offered ther BRZ ‘RA’ as a basic race-ready vehicle but also introduced the BRZ TS which benefitted from an STI tuning package, bodykit, Brembo brakes and larger drive-shaft.
To tell the GT86 and BRZ apart you need to stand at the front (apart from the obvious different badges) The BRZ has a genuine Subaru grille and lights.
Since launch the various companies have not stood still: Toyota showcased the TRD Griffon concept as a track hack as well as the FT-86 Open convertible. Subaru went completely the other way and developed the Cross Sport Design as an SUV variant based on the BRZ platform.
A 2nd generation model of the GT86 is due later in 2021.