Not so much of the former, plenty of the latter. True, the engine feels stronger than before, the original 86x86mm bore and stroke (you’ll see what they did there) now bored out to 2.4 litres while improved breathing deals with the somewhat asthmatic power delivery of the original GT86. It also addresses the ‘valley of death’ that lurked slap bang in the middle of the previous engine’s torque curve, slashing the 0-62mph time from 7.6 to 6.3 seconds and improving low-end response. The need to rev the nuts off it to make any meaningful progress remains, and straight-line heroes raised on a diet of torquey, turbocharged hot hatches will still think it’s a bit gutless. Which is their right, as they power understeer off into the weeds while the GR86 driver instead enjoys lashings of hilariously accessible oversteer.
If you’re calm with your inputs and turn-in speed, that oversteer can be as mild as relaxing your grip on the wheel as the GR rotates gently into the corner. Or you can give it a big bung, floor it and enjoy the easily caught slides that result. The handling can be pretty lively in tight, low-speed corners but the uncorrupted linearity of the throttle response and relatively modest power means you can ride slides out without fear of it getting too messy. Expect a healthy collection of black flags if you indulge this behaviour on track days but, even driven with more discretion, the natural, rear-driven balance, pin-sharp responses and easy throttle adjustability remain delightful. It’s just as fun on the road as well, where the GR’s size, agility and real-world performance deliver more impressive smiles per hour than many more powerful and prestigious alternatives.