Toyota offering range of sporty coupes even as more buyers flock to SUVs

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ByDave Kunz via KABC logo
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
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As buyers flock to SUVs, Toyota continues to stay loyal to the sporty two-doors that helped put it on the map over the years.

As people continue to flock to SUVs, new sporty two-door cars are a rare breed in showrooms and on the street. But Toyota is sticking with the kind of cars that helped put it on the map over the years.

For one that really thrills, Toyota's upscale division, Lexus, has a couple.

For example, the RC coupe is stylish and comfortable, if not the most practical car in the world. But there's no arguing that the high-performance RC F version has not only the power to move you back in the seat, but some visual cues to let others know you bought the hot one. While the basic RC model starts at just under $45,000 with four-cylinder power, the amped-up V8 RC F has a base price of just under $70,000.

Back on the Toyota side, you may know that the Supra returned recently, a storied name in the brand's history. Starting at a bit over $40,000 for the 2.0 version, the Supra can thrill with the best of them, developed with GR, the company's in-house racing brand. Begging to be taken to a track, it's also rather sensible as an everyday car.

But with a price tag that can approach or top fifty grand for the 3.0 , it's out of reach for many, especially younger buyers. That's where the Toyota GR86 comes in, newly redesigned for 2022, with a starting price of under $30,000. It too now wears the branding of GR, for Gazoo Racing. That's Toyota's in-house racing development team, which tunes sports cars like this for thrills on both the track and the street.

The GR86 packs a bigger punch now, with horsepower up from the previous version - 228 vs 205 - and has an on-road balance that will amaze. All while still being at least somewhat practical, with a back seat. For small people or kids, that is, as the seat is rather cramped.

If you peek under the GR86's hood and you know your engines, you might recognize the horizontally opposed or "boxer" 4-cylinder. That engine configuration is synonymous with Subarus. Like the previous generation of this car, it was developed in conjunction with Subaru.

That's really the only cost-effective way to develop a sporty car that's relatively affordable these days. The expense to bring a car to market is staggering, so partnering with another brand makes it possible.

Toyota did that with the Supra as well, and it shares a platform and numerous components (including the engine) with the BMW Z4 roadster. Pairing up with the German automaker was really the only way to justify the Supra's return to the market from a financial standpoint.

The Lexus RC, Toyota Supra, and Toyota GR86 are in a market that's not nearly as kind to sporty coupes as it once was. But if you're of a mind to own a car like that, this is one company that has things covered.