2022 Toyota GR86 vs 2022 Subaru BRZ: Which is the better sports car?
Jason · Dec 5, 2021 12:00 PM
Following news that the 2022 Subaru BRZ will not only make it to Malaysia, but also priced rather attractively at RM 229k to RM 239k (depending on transmission choices), the first question on everyone's lips is: Will the 2022 Toyota GR86 follow suit, and be as attractively priced?
2.4-litre boxer engine more powerful (235 PS, 250 Nm), manual and automatic options
GR86 tuned to be more "sharp and spicy."
BRZ flavour is "sweet and rich in taste."
Which leads us neatly into the next question: What are the differences between these two cars? Obviously, we know the GR86 and BRZ will have started life from the same platform and will continue to be built in Gunma, Japan. However, there's more to just having different names and appearances. Let's dive in.
Yes, it's pretty obvious that the exterior design of the Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ deviates from one another, but surely there are mechanical elements that separates them, right? That assumption, is a correct one.
If you didn't know this already, car makers like Toyota and Subaru place great emphasis on the distinct 'flavours' of their products. The 'flavour' being the sensations and feelings the driver experiences behind the wheel. Put it simply, the dish might be the same, but the seasoning will differ from one product to another.
So yes, when Toyota and Subaru decided that a second generation of the 86 and BRZ was going to happen, they set out to 'season' their respective products with unique ingredients, much like the first generation twins.
To illustrate this mostly-similar, but uniquely divergent 'flavours', Toyota and Subaru used a Japanese curry dish (no, really, it's a staple dish there). The point being, both cars use the same base, that being curry dish. It's the seasoning that gives each one a slightly different, individual taste.
According to an interview by a Japanese publication, Toyota says that its GR86 version of curry is "sharp and spicy", while Subaru's one is "sweet and rich in taste". Interesting descriptions, but how does that translate to the characteristics of each car?
The 'ingredients' that give the GR86 and BRZ their respective 'flavours' are mostly found in the suspension department. As there are quite a few differences in the suspension and handling components, let's break in down in the table below.
Toyota GR86 vs Subaru BRZ suspension
So what's the result of having distinct 'seasoning' on each of these cars? Well, the GR86's set up blesses it with a tail-led, rear-biased handling balance (sharp and spicy, remember?). It's only happy to oblige a driver wanting to indulge in some tyre-smoking drifts.
What of the BRZ then? The way its suspension is tuned means that it's more locked down and a tad more comfortable than the Toyota (sweet and rich in taste), a character more consistent with its other Subaru siblings.
Of course, we are talking minute differences here, however distinct they might be. You can still get the tail of a BRZ out should the occasion demand it.
No matter how different they are in the suspension department, what remains similar across both the GR86 and BRZ is the powertrain they share. For this second generation, propulsion now comes from a 2.4-litre, naturally aspirated, flat four engine (235 PS, 250 Nm), paired to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic (why would you?).
Regardless of how the GR86 and BRZ are flavoured to have their own unique 'taste', the world is a better place because sports cars like these are still being made. So, don't be that person that complains about these cars, celebrate that they're here, because car makers didn't have to build these, but choose to.
With the way the automotive world is heading, sports cars like the GR86 and BRZ will be a rarity soon, we're guessing. Ignore the naysayers, and buy one of these while you still can. Chances are, you'll find it to be a richly rewarding experience. I know I did.
By the way, the GR86 x BRZ curry dish used to illustrate the two cars' characters? It's actually on the menu (for a limited time) at the Crane Garden restaurant at Fuji Speedway, should you ever find yourself in Japan.
If you're the type of driver who loves feeling the rear on its tiptoes, the GR86 is the one to go for. It's stiffer rear damping means that the driver is more on a knife's edge, more of the time. Should you prefer something more refined and balanced, then put the BRZ in your garage. It's the better all-rounder that is still a riot when the mood strikes.
Jason's foremost passion is all things automotive, where he spent his formative working years as a Product Planner and Trainer. An Advanced Driving Instructor by training and an all-round enthusiast, Jason loves going into intricate details about driving dynamics. Will drive anything with 4 wheels and a steering.