Toyota Celebrates RWD Legacy with Special Edition Supra, Trueno Edition GR86June 22, 2023
Toyota has a history of putting out fun models built with the rear-wheel drive enthusiast in mind, and that still holds true today. Taking a look at their current portfolio, Toyota’s GR performance sub brand has made waves in recent years with the GR Supra, GR86 and, most recently, GR Corolla.
All of these models are modern examples of excellent JDM motoring, and each one serves as a continuation of their respective legacies. And to properly honor that, as well as some of the popular culture surrounding these vehicles, Toyota has released two special edition models while reiterating the previously stated fact that the GR Corolla Circuit Edition will return for 2024.
And to briefly touch on that, the 2024 GR Corolla Circuit Edition will be available in a new “Blue Flame” color, contrasted by black forged aluminum 18-inch wheels. These wheels are standard to the Circuit Edition, said to be similar to those found on the 2023 MORIZO Edition, and they match the black graphics that meet up with the “GR-Four” name stamped into the rocker panels. Inside there’s also blue accent stitching; and for an even more premium feel, a JBL Premium Audio system.
The entire GR Corolla lineup sees chassis improvements and some tweaks made to the front aeroduct, along with some minor material changes. Beyond that, we suspect the 2024 GR Corolla will continue to be the incredible hot hatch experience we fell in love with both on the street and on the tight corners of Summit Point’s Jefferson Circuit.
But that’s not all coming from Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division. We also received word on two new special editions celebrating Toyota’s RWD legacy.
“Is that… is that a Supra?!”
We’ll start with the Supra, soon to be available in this 45th Anniversary Edition. It pays tribute to the venerable and sought after MKIV Supra of the 1990’s– first and foremost by offering a “Mikan Blast” orange paint; though, “Absolute Zero,” a white lacquer, can be had at your request.
But the 45th Anniversary Edition isn’t just about the paint. Borrowing the 3.0 Premium Grade as its foundation, this exclusive trim adds a large, manually adjustable rear spoiler. The black finish is complemented by matte 19-inch aluminum wheels and black “GR” branded calipers. The darkened theme is further carried by a side panel graphic sweeping upwards from the front fender and into the rear side scoop. Prop open the hood and you’ll find matching Mikan Blast strut braces and accents on the plenum cover.
This is also where you’ll find the Supra’s B58, a turbocharged 3.0-liter engine conjuring 382 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque, sent to the rear wheels through either a manual or automatic transmission. Just this past season we tested the Supra’s new six-speed manual at Roebling Road Raceway in Savannah, Georgia. And needless to say, it was a step in the right direction for Toyota.
Toyota says the 45th Anniversary Edition gives the MKV a “look reminiscent of the MKIV model of big screen fame.” Of course, this is a nod to the MKIV Supra from the original Fast and Furious movie, driven by the late Paul Walker. While it isn’t a perfect recreation of the movie car or a similar Supra from that era, it’s a good enough approximation for fans of both the franchise and the sports car itself.
The original Toyota Supra, first hitting the states in 1979, was actually titled the Toyota Celica Supra. According to Toyota, it was poised to compete as a luxury rear-wheel drive sports car. This is also where the inline-6 legacy began; though the original engine was bumped from 2.6- to 2.8-liters in about a year’s time. In 1982, the MKII Supra arrived, again with a 2.8-liter under the hood. The MKIII arrived in ‘86, officially releasing itself from Celica nomenclature and serving as an independent high-performance model in the Toyota catalog. Then, of course, 1993 is when the MKIV would arrive, along with the renowned 2JZ-GE and 2JZ-GTE powertrains. And now we’re here, enjoying the Supra’s 2020 revival.
The only downside is this 45th Anniversary Edition will be capped at a measly 900 unit run in the US. No word on pricing yet either, but prospective buyers should certainly expect to pay a tad more than the 3.0 Premium’s current starting price of $57,845 ($59,040 for a manual with the Driver Assist Package).
“What’s a Trueno?”
The Toyota Supra doesn’t need much of a backgrounder, though we suspect most people are more familiar with the MKIV and its influence rather than the originals. Still, the Supra name is one not soon forgotten– nor is the 86 and current GR86, Toyota’s entry-level coupe sports car. But what some 86 fans may not know, especially American buyers, is that the current 86 model is actually a tribute to a sporty rear-wheel drive Corolla born in the 80’s: the AE86.
Now that designation, AE86 (or “Hachi-Roku” in Japanese, meaning “eight-six”)– that is something enthusiasts may have heard before thanks to various car and pop culture usages. To fall further down the rabbit hole, the name of this special edition is the “TRUENO Edition.”
But, we’ll touch on the history of the 86 and Trueno nameplates soon. First, let’s just focus on the news. The 2024 GR86 TRUENO Edition celebrates the 40th anniversary of the AE86. The most apparent changes are, again, visual. Built on the Premium grade, the TRUENO will come in either “Halo” white or “Track bRed” red, contrasted by black accents. This includes the wrapped hood and the side graphics, matching the dark wheels and duckbill spoiler.
The model features special “TRUENO” badges on the front, rear deck, and even in the shift knob. Speaking of the interior, it’s a red and black theme with Ultrasuede sport seats and an 8-inch touchscreen. It can be had as with an automatic transmission, though we suspect a majority of interested buyers will opt for the manual. And those that do want to clutch and shift their way through life will now gain the benefits of Toyota’s Active Safety Suite, consisting of various features to give drivers a little more peace of mind.
The engine remains the same, but the TRUENO comes factory with a new GR86 Performance Package, the stars of which are SACHS Dampers and Brembo Brakes. This package will be available for purchase with the rest of the lineup, and it can even be retrofitted to 2022 and 2023 GR86’s– 18-inch wheels required.
Like the Supra 45th Edition, the GR86 TRUENO Edition is limited– this time to just 860 units. Pricing for this special grade, along with the rest of the GR86 lineup, will be shared later this year.
So, why is this important? Why the paint scheme? And what is a Trueno?
From 1984-1987, Toyota made a special version of the Corolla commuter car, known in Japan as the Sprinter Trueno. We technically never got the Sprinter Trueno in the states, but we did get the Corolla GT-S, a rear-wheel drive liftback offering low-powered and low-cost fun. At the heart of the Sprinter Trueno was the 4A-GE, a 1.6-liter engine producing… well, not a lot of horsepower and an appropriately low amount of torque. But it revved up to 7,500 RPM, weighed just 2,300 pounds, and came factory with a limited-slip differential and a five-speed manual transmission.
The AE86 was balanced, rear-wheel driven and sporty by design. It became the car of choice for professional racer Keiichi Tsuchiya, also known as the “Drift King.” The AE86 became popular in-part to Tsuchiya’s drifting, be it on the course or on Japan’s mountain roads, the latter of which was heavily featured in his original drifting demo reel, “Pluspy.”
This, in turn, helped fuel the Hachi-Roku’s next big influence– a Japanese manga (comic book) and anime series Initial D. In this series, the protagonist drives his father’s AE86 Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex up and down the slopes of Mount Akina (Mount Haruna, in reality) delivering tofu, learning to drive (and drift) faster and faster. Takumi, the hero of this story, starts off thinking of driving as just a chore; however, after a few bouts with local street racers, he eventually pledges to become a true downhill specialist.
This is a very condensed preamble to the series, but what you need to know is that Initial D was an instrumental part in giving the AE86 Sprinter Trueno the cultural significance that it has. And while the AE86 could be had in various colors, one could argue that this piece of media is where the white over black “Panda” paint scheme became so iconic– loosely mimicked in the new TRUENO Edition. And now you know why this GR86 is part of Toyota’s celebration. Like the original Hachi-Roku, the GR86 isn’t necessarily the fastest, flashiest, or most illustrious sports car out in the wild– heck, it isn’t even any of that in Toyota’s own catalog. But still, the GR86, just like the original, is pure fun, eager for a rear-wheel drive enthusiast to get behind the wheel.