2016 Toyota 86 GRMN

It’s been nearly two years since Toyota unveiled the GRMN 86 Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show, and a production version is finally being offered for public consumption. Unfortunately, it won’t be sold outside of Japan, which means the U.S. won’t get a similar version with a Scion badge.

I say “unfortunately” because the 86 GRMN could easily become the Scion FR-S we’ve always wanted. One that’s lighter and more powerful than the standard version.

Built by Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s Japanese racing division, this special-edition coupe takes it moniker from Gazoo Racing Masters of Nurburgring. In short, this 86 was developed with racing in mind and then honed on Germany’s iconic race track. Like the concept car, the production model is significantly lighter than the standard version, while its engine received a noteworthy output increase to go with the lowered curb weight. Additionally, the body features a number of aero upgrades that make it more menacing to look at, quicker, and more nimble than any other factory-built, road-legal 86/FR-S to date.

What makes it special besides the 100-unit limited production run, the Japan-only availability, and its JPY6.48 million (about $54,000) sticker? Keep reading to find out.

What makes the Toyota 86 GRMN special

You can tell that this is no regular Toyota GT 86 as soon as you look at it. Although it remains recognizable as a GT 86, the body kit turns the sporty-looking coupe into a track-ready machine. Up front, the bumper received a massive carbon-fiber splitter and wheel arch extensions, while the standard foglamps were removed — likely to save weight. The standard engine hood was ditched in favor of a carbon-fiber, black-painted unit that has a pair of large vents to help cool the uprated powerplant.

On the sides, updates continue with blacked-out fender vents and mirrors, as well as larger, carbon-fiber side skirts. The roof is also made of carbon-fiber. Around back, there’s a carbon-fiber trunk lid with a massive, fixed wing atop, and a revised bumper with a brand-new diffuser. The latter was redesigned from the ground up compared to the standard model and now features a single, center-mounted exhaust pipe.

Under the hood, the GRMN features the same 2.0-liter boxer engine found in the regular coupe, but output has been increased to 216 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque by means of updated internals. Compared to the U.S.-spec FR-S, the GRMN boasts an additional 16 horses and nine pound-feet. Granted, that doesn’t sound like much, but combine the extra oomph with the improved aerodynamics and the fact that the coupe’s curb weight has been reduced by about 100 pounds and you get a significantly quicker machine. Thanks to the new, closer-ratio, six-speed manual transmission, the GRMN will likely hit 60 mph from a standing start in around 6.5 seconds.

To Keep the GRMN on its best behavior at the track, Gazoo Racing also retuned the suspension system, added wider rear wheels, and replaced the standard brakes with ventilated discs at all corners. These are backed by four-piston calipers at the front and six-piston units at the rear.

On paper, the 86 GRMN sounds like one heck of a sports car. In reality, however, it needs to be more than just a limited-run vehicle that’s only available in Japan to really stand out. What’s more, it costs quite a pretty penny given it is based on one of the most affordable sports cars on the market. Despite the expensive sticker, it’s a shame that Toyota and Gazoo won’t sell the GRMN globally.

Toyota GT 86

Toyota GT 86

The Toyota GT 86 was launched in 2012 as a two-door, affordable sports car. Co-developed with Subaru, the GT 86 is available with three badges globally. While the Toyota is marketed in Europe, Asia, and Australia, the United States get both the Scion FR-S and the Subaru Subaru BRZ . All North American models are rated at 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque, three extra horses over the Euro-spec vehicles. The Scion FR-S retails from $27,200, while the Subaru BRZ can be had for $25,395 before options.

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