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2022 Toyota 86 could be Australia's ultimate performance bargain! Entry-level trim would undercut Subaru BRZ twin

The Toyota 86 is shaping as a performance car bargain.

The incoming 2022 Toyota 86 is shaping as one of Australia's true performance-car bargains, with the Japanese giant's rear-wheel sports car offered in a bargain-basement trim level that won't appear with its Subaru BRZ twin.

While Toyota in Japan has confirmed a three-trim strategy for the new 86, introducing a cut-price trim level that will be offered with a manual gearbox only, Subaru in Australia has confirmed there's no plan for the BRZ to follow suit.

Instead, the Subaru version will arrive in Coupe and Coupe S guises only, with the former costing $38,990 (was $38,250) for the manual and $42,790 (was $40,580) for the auto.

The range then steps up to the Coupe S, yours for $40,190 (was $40,080) in manual or $43,990 (was $42,140) with an automatic.

“Our focus is well and truly on where we see the Subaru demographic and the Subaru buyer, and even in the previous generation we both had different specs to appeal to our different types of buyers,” says Subaru Australia GM, Blair Read.

We’ve focused on the spec that we think best suits the Australian consumer, and from what we’ve seen in previous generations. In short, the focus for us is what works for our customers and our market, and we’ve chosen the variants that best suit that.”

Toyota though, at least in Japan, is offering the 86 across three distinct trim levels – called domestically the RC, SZ and RZ – with the former a stripped-back, manual-only offering designed to lower the entry point to the 86 range.

Japanese media point to the cut-price 86 coming in at 2,799,000 yen, which is a startling $34,632 in our money.

But of more relevance is the price difference between the cheapest 86 and the cheapest BRZ in Japan, which will more closely tell us the intended gap between the models.

In Japan, the cheapest BRZ, the R, arrives at 3,080,000 yen, or $38,093, meaning there's a roughly $4k difference between the models.

2022 Toyota GR 86 2022 Toyota GR 86

Given the BRZ in Australia starts at $38,990, a $4k discount would then bring the Toyota 86 in at less than $35k for the cheapest model. But given the current cheapest Toyota 86 starts at around $32k, we'd expect a stripped-back entry-level trim to match, or even beat, that figure.

And given the new engine – a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder 'boxer' engine, delivering 170kW and 249Nm to the rear wheels – the stiffer chassis and what we predict will be better all-round performance, the 86 could be the ultimate performance-car bargain.

The only question, of course, is when? With Toyota's global production currently in meltdown, and report that the brand is holding back launch to better differentiate the model from its Subaru twin, when exactly it will arrive remains something of a mystery.