Toyota's purists' sports car set to return

Toyota GR 86
Toyota GR 86

THREE cheers for Toyota, which is persevering with its back-to-basics sports car at a time when the breed is becoming an endangered species.

This car is the replacement for the much admired GT86, but goes by the one-letter-different new name of GR 86.

'GR', in Toyota-speak, denotes Gazoo Racing, the company's rather improbably named racing division.

The GR badge has already appeared on the latest Supra - a collaboration with BMW, which has received a rather lukewarm reception - and on the rally-car-for-the-road version of the Yaris, which has won euphoric praise.

The GR 86 is once again a collaboration with Subaru and its BRZ model; it's unclear at this stage if that is coming our way.

The headline change for the new car is a larger, more powerful engine.

It's still a Subaru-supplied 'boxer' unit - all the better for low centre of gravity and the agile handling that is the car's trademark - but now of 2.4 litres' capacity and 232bhp rather than the 2.0 litres' and 197bhp found in the GT86.

Toyota GR 86
Toyota GR 86

There are still no turbochargers in sight. Weight is a relatively svelte 1,270kg - aluminium is used in the roof and body panels - and the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout is set-up to deliver agile handling.

Together, it means the GR 86 is a very 'pure' car, perhaps one of the last, with a focus on driver feel and interactive fun rather than blunt power and easy speed.

It is likely to go on sale in the UK market by the end of the year, probably with a price tag of around £30k.