Toyota GR models in Malaysia – Corolla, GR86, Supra

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By Car Brand Experts


Not everyone can claim to be the champion of the enthusiast driver, but Toyota is certainly in with a shout. The image of unfailingly beige Camrys are well and truly behind us – Toyotas are now (mostly) cool and fun to drive, and even the Prius has been touched by the hand of Akio Toyoda. But the former CEO’s greatest legacy is undoubtedly the success of the Toyota Gazoo Racing banner.

The once underperformer of endurance racing (anyone remember Le Mans 2016?) is now a multiple champion and Le Mans winner, and its success extends to the World Rally Championship too, where it has won five drivers’ titles on the bounce.

Distilling all that racing pedigree into a commercial product was not the work of a moment, but the GR road car lineup is now four-strong and includes rally-bred hot hatches and purpose-built sports cars. Here, the new GR Corolla joins two of its formidable siblings, the GR Supra and GR86, although unfortunately the GR Yaris couldn’t make it to the family reunion.

But no matter, because the GR Corolla takes all the best bits from the smaller three-door. Except here, its beating heart been dialled up to 11 – the 1.6 litre G16E-GTS turbocharged three-cylinder engine has been strengthened and fettled with a freer-breathing exhaust, so it now makes 300 PS and 370 Nm of torque.

Also shared with the GR Yaris is the GR-Four all-wheel-drive system, the torque split of which can be set either to 40:60, 50:50 or 30:70 front to rear at a twist of a dial on the centre console. Malaysians are fortunate enough to receive the Circuit Edition as standard, which adds Torsen front and rear limited-slip differentials and a bulging bonnet with functional air vents.

All this means the GR Corolla shares little with your uncle’s Corolla sedan. It sits on the same Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), yes, but uses the five-door Corolla hatch – unavailable in Malaysia – as a base. Toyota then added more welding points, structural adhesives and bracing to make the GR version super stiff. It also swapped the electronic parking brake with a mechanical handbrake; the car will even disconnect the rear axle so you can pull those sweet rally-style slides.

The GR86 may have been launched at the same time as the GR Corolla, but its lineage stretches back to 2012 with the original 86 (much farther still if you include the AE86 Corolla Levin/Sprinter Trueno of Initial D fame). Like its forebear, the GR86 was developed by Subaru alongside the BRZ and is a back-to-basics sports coupé with an engine at the front, drive at the rear and four seats in the middle.

While the basic formula has been left well alone, the two companies have worked to revamp the anaemic 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated flat-four, now punched out to 2.4 litres in FA24D form and producing a healthy 237 PS (up 29 PS) and 250 Nm (up 38 Nm). The body shell has also been stiffened and lightened using high-strength steel and aluminium body panels, helping to make this an even more engaging steer.

The GR Supra is the least changed here, essentially the same car that was revealed back in 2019. As such, it’s a known quantity by now – built by BMW, based on the current Z4 and powered by Munich’s venerable 3.0 litre B58 turbo straight-six, producing 387 PS and 500 Nm. But this swoopy two-seater has recently been refreshed with some eye-catching upgrades.

Firstly, the adaptive suspension has been retuned for a more comfortable ride, while the electric power steering and anti-roll bar bushings have been tweaked to give you more feedback through the rim. But of course, the biggest difference is the addition of a six-speed manual gearbox for the first time, Toyota (and BMW) finally capitulating to the horde of enthusiasts clamouring for a row-your-own transmission.

Unfortunately, this particular Supra doesn’t get that – it still has the (admittedly brilliant) ZF eight-speed automatic. Rather more heinously, this GR86 is also an auto, this time Aisin’s anodyne six-speed ‘box. No such issues with the GR Corolla, which comes solely with a six-speed manual. It’s that or walking.

The GR Corolla is the only one here with an honest-to-goodness manual shifter

Despite being five years old, the Supra still looks fresh, albeit less purposeful than the other two with its showy curves and countless fake vents. By contrast, the GR86’s design is pure businesslike sports car, even though it’s been beefed up and modernised quite a bit over its predecessor, with a more aggressive front end, muscly rear haunches and a svelte boot lid spoiler.

The GR Corolla, on the other hand, is pure rally car theatre with its gaping air inlets, angular fender flares, forged carbon fibre roof (here unencumbered by a silly faux carbon wrap, unlike the GR Yaris) and enormous rear diffuser with distinctive triple exhausts. The one design cue that ties all three of these cars together is the dark grey multi-spoke alloy wheels that measure 19 inches in diameter on the Suptra and 18 inches on the GR Corolla and GR86.

The Supra’s new forged alloys are a work of art

Inside, these three could not be any more different. Cobbled together from BMW parts that are now at least two generations old, the Supra looks and feels the least special inside, even though it probably has the best quality out of all of them. The GR86 continues its no-nonsense aesthetic on the inside, punctuated by bold red trim, some recognisable Subaru switchgear and a brand-new seven-inch digital instrument cluster that mimics the shape of the characteristic boxer engine.

Being based on a Corolla, the GR version is unmistakably Toyota on the inside. But while the dashboard will be familiar to those who have sat in a Corolla sedan or Corolla Cross, the hot hatch has some notable unique features, such as a drive mode selector and a knob to choose the GR-Four torque split. Of course, there’s also no missing the chunky bucket seats, manual shifter, three pedals and, right between the seats, a sizeable…handbrake lever (don’t laugh).

Clockwise from left: GR Corolla, GR86, GR Supra

By virtue of it having five doors and five seats, the GR Corolla is by far the most practical car here, even though its 213 litre boot is hardly commodious. The GR86 may seat four, but the rear seats are tiny and its boot is severely compromised by having a spare tyre literally sitting in the middle. The GR Supra is a strict two-seater, but without a spare tyre (typical BMW), its boot measures a reasonable 290 litres.

As expected, none of these cars come cheap, but the GR86 comes closest to being affordable, even though prices have crept up over the years and now start at RM295,000. The GR Corolla is up next at RM355,000, while the GR Supra is considerably dearer, costing a heady RM645,000. All prices are for the manual versions (as you should), but which would you buy? Sound off in the comments after the jump.

GALLERY: Toyota GR Corolla in Malaysia

GALLERY: Toyota GR86 in Malaysia

GALLERY: Toyota GR Supra in Malaysia

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