Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ: What's the Difference?

Published on August 16, 2022 in Comparative Tests by The Car Guide

They might not look it from the outside, but the new Toyota GR 86 and Subaru BRZ 2022 represent a considerable evolution over their predecessors. That’s because the most significant changes have been made under the hood and inside the cabin.

Although their prices have barely increased and a brand-new specimen is tempting, you should still consider pre-owned models for the substantial savings they bring to the table.

Since these two coupes have been developed side by side and share a great amount of components, they are very similar. That being said, except for a few logos here and there, what’s the difference between a Toyota 86 (formerly Scion FR-S) and a Subaru BRZ?

Photo: Toyota

Visually, they are two of a kind. Their body designs are so close that it’s difficult to tell them apart from a distance. However, there are a few differences in the lights, bumpers and wheels. It’s a matter of personal choice. Again, the interior only shows small trim variations. 

Mechanically speaking, the two models are identical. Subaru has done most of the work in terms of engineering, so it delivers Subaru’s signature driving experience rather than Toyota’s, but the two cars’ driving dynamics are exactly the same. 

Photo: Toyota

By the way, the naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine produces 205 horsepower and 156 ft-lb of torque with the six-speed manual transmission, but the automatic gearbox reduces both power and torque by five units, which explains partly why it's a little slower in terms of 0 to 100 km/h acceleration (8.4 seconds / 7.4 manual).   

Each brand has released special editions over the years. For example, the 2019 86 TRD SE had larger Brembo brakes, stiffer Sachs shock absorbers, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, a TRD dual-exhaust system, new 18-inch aluminium wheels, an exclusive interior with red accents and a TRD aerodynamic package.

Photo: Subaru

On the Subaru side, there was the BRZ tS, impossible to miss with its huge adjustable carbon fibre spoiler, its STI adjustable suspension, its many details, trims, logos and red stitching, not to mention the large classic STI dials, in white over black. A 2019 Raiu edition was also made with changes that were more visual than mechanical.

Lastly, you must be aware that the 86 and BRZ are very popular with tuning and track racing enthusiasts. See what type of modifications were made, if any, and check the mechanical components and tires for wear. In the end, these simple verifications could make a huge difference.

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