The 2013 Toyota GT 86 RC was one of the cooler Toyotas in recent memory. It was a completely stripped out first-generation car: No radio, no dash trim, no alloy wheels, no paint on the bumpers. All it had was a front engine, two driven wheels out back, and a six-speed connecting them — perfection.
For 2022, the updated GR 86 brings back that stripped-out RC trim. This time, it carries a few upgrades over the old race-team-ready model, but keeps its place as the entry-level modern hachiroku.
The 2022 GR 86 RC has a few immediately noticeable differences. Gone are the standard 17″ wheels from the export base models, replaced with 16″ steel wheels wearing narrower 205/55R16 tires. Also gone are the exhaust tips — the exhaust simply ends somewhere below the bumper.
Less obvious are some other changes. The RC has no trunk lid carpeting, but good luck noticing without any trunk lights. There’s no engine cover, and some amount of sound deadening appears to be removed from the floor. The car’s pumped-in engine audio has been deleted, as have most of the speakers that would play it — only two remain on the RC.
Inside, the RC loses the leather-trimmed shift knob and handbrake lever from the higher-spec cars, but the rest is largely the same. The seats, steering wheel, and gauge cluster all match the Japanese-spec SZ trim (roughly equivalent to a United States base model).
What really counts is the performance, though, and the RC keeps everything it needs from the other cars. The same 2.4l flat-four engine, the same six-speed Aisin gearbox. The previous-generation RC lost the Torsen limited-slip differential from the higher-spec trims, but the updated car keeps it around regardless of vehicle grade.
For Japanese enthusiasts looking to score a deal on a GR 86, the RC starts 237,000 yen cheaper than the next-highest trim. Over here, that’s a difference of just under $2100 — more than enough for some race-ready wheels and tires.
The RC may not make for the most comfortable daily driver, but this is the track day model. Toyota expects buyers to appreciate the weight savings from things like speakers and amenities, and figures they would be changing out wheels and tires anyway — why charge extra for an alloy that will never see the light of day? The market for these ultra-stripped cars may not be huge in the U.S., but I can’t imagine it’s zero. So, Toyota, how about you send us Americans a couple? I’d like to see how fun the lightest-spec GR 86 can be.