The Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 have been completely redesigned for 2022 with a completely new, more powerful 2.4-liter engine, updated looks and suspension and chassis upgrades that make them drive better than their predecessors . While both the cars share the same powertrain, most body panels, interior design and most of the parts below, there are some notable differences that might lead you to prefer one over the other.
The most obvious difference between the BRZ and the GR 86 is the way both the cars look. While the overall proportions are almost identical, both the cars have their own front-end designs. Toyota went for a more simplified singular mesh grille without many creases or folds for the bumper, while Subaru went a different route, electing to lengthen the nose and open a smiley-face type grille up front.
At the rear the cars share a bit more, though if you go for the premium trim on the GR86, you’ll get an optional stick-on lip spoiler that isn’t available on any trim for the BRZ.
Looks are subjective, so these designs alone can win hearts, depending on how strongly they feel.
While the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter boxer-four under the hood of both cars is rated at 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, Subaru claims that each manufacturer did its own engine tuning to differentiate the experience Was.
In our brief first drives with each car, we didn’t notice much difference in response or power delivery, both of which offer very little torque and even thrust at redline. To determine how differently the motors are tuned, we’ll need to bring them back-to-back together.
Suspension, Chassis and Steering
We learned back in March 2021 that Toyota delayed production of the GR86 to make its changes to the car to ensure it would drive differently than its Subaru-branded counterpart. And after driving both the cars we can report that in fact both the cars have their own unique driving characteristics. Why? Changes to the suspension, chassis and steering system.
Each car has its own front and rear damper settings, with Toyota using a 7-percent lower front spring rate and an 11-percent higher rear spring rate, respectively, than the BRZ. Subaru uses a hollow front sway bar that measures 18.3 millimeters in thickness, slightly thicker than the solid 18-millimeter unit at the 86. The rear bar on the Toyota is a millimeter thicker than on the Subaru, coming in at 15 millimeters as well. More importantly, Subaru uses the new mounting points for the rear sway bar located directly in the unibody, not on the subframe where Toyota’s mounting points are. Other changes in suspension include aluminum front knuckles and stiffer rear trailing link bushings on the BRZ versus steel knuckles and carry-over bushings on the GR 86.
Subaru says its car is set up for “stability and accuracy” rather than outright hooliganism. And from our initial impressions, it looks like the engineers hit the nail on the head. The early turn-in on the BRZ versus the GR86 is quick, but quick enough to push into a corner when the car reaches the limits of its grip. Toyota, on the other hand, is prone to oversteer ever so much. It’s not that cars are night and day, of course—the differences are minute. Chances are you won’t be able to feel them if you don’t drive the cars back to back.
Once we get both cars together at the same time, we’ll have a more definite opinion about how differently they really drive.
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