Why the 2022 Toyota GR 86 Needs a Cheap, No-Frills Trim

Toyota's sports car was once available with steel wheels, unpainted bumpers, and no air-conditioning. But will we see this with the new one?

In the redesigned 2022 Toyota GR 86, Toyota has at last addressed customers’ biggest request by giving the 86 more power. Its enlarged, now 2.4-liter flat-four produces 232 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, shoving it from zero to 60 mph almost a second quicker than the previous model. If there were anything left for Toyota to improve, it’d be the GR 86’s already low price and weight, possibly by leaving out unnecessary stuff like touchscreens. Here’s hoping Toyota chooses to do that from the factory, like it did with the stripped-out 2013 Toyota 86 RC.

Announced in early 2012, the 86 RC was Toyota’s equivalent to Subaru’s BRZ RA; both gutted, low-cost versions of their shared sports car. Archived photos of Toyota’s version show the 86 RC with unpainted bumpers, mirrors, and door handles, plus 16-inch steel wheels—Toyota obviously expected 86 RC buyers to exchange all these parts for aftermarket components first thing.

2012 Toyota 86 RC, Toyota

A period report from Motor1 indicates the 86 RC was trimmed in a way that’d make Colin Chapman proud, with no air conditioning or stereo, and without some interior trim (there were no cupholders). RCs reportedly also did without leather on the steering wheel, aluminum pedals, steel sill plates, or lamps in the doors and trunk.

The brakes were reportedly downgraded to 15-inch rotors which, on the rear axle, weren’t even ventilated and reportedly lacked a handbrake. A different differential was used—a mechanical open diff according to Autoblog—and some styling elements were also missing, such as the fog lamps and rear spoiler. The result, however, was a savings of 88 pounds, and more importantly, several thousand dollars.

2012 Toyota 86 RC, Toyota

At the JPY-USD exchange rate on the date of the 2013 Toyota 86 RC’s announcement, the RC would’ve retailed in Japan for about the equivalent of $26,100, as opposed to $31,600 for the normal base trim. Proportionally to the 2013 Scion FR-S, which started at $24,930, that could’ve made an FR-S RC (had it existed) an attractive, $20,600 proposition.

Before you get your hopes up for a 2022 Toyota GR 86 RC, though, take into account what the new car market looks like today. Almost no carmaker—certainly not Toyota—is having trouble selling every last vehicle it builds. Demand not being an issue, Toyota will want to maximize profit margins, and has little incentive to offer a stripped-out, low-margin GR 86 RC that won’t turn quite the same buck as an upper-trim model. Remain hopeful if you want—we will, which is why we’ve reached out to Toyota to determine whether it’ll bring back the RC trim. We’ll update when we receive a statement.

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