Toyota has sharpened the driving focus of its acclaimed 86 sports car with improvements that build on the style, performance, handling and affordability that have made it a hit with enthusiasts of all ages.
The revised coupé expands its dynamic appeal with a stiffer chassis, retuned suspension, improved aerodynamics and a new “track” mode that lets the driver tap into the sports car’s full potential by adjusting the level of stability and traction control.
Manual versions of the 86 gain an uplift in power and torque through revised intake and exhaust systems, modified pistons, a more rigid cylinder block and a differential gear-ratio change.
Updates to the cabin for manual and automatic variants include a smaller-diameter steering wheel and, on high-grade GTS variants, new performance data options for the colour multi-information display, including power and torque curves, stopwatch and a G-force monitor.
More aggressive exterior styling, designed to emphasise the low, wide stance of the car, contributes to improved airflow and therefore road-holding and turning performance.
The upgraded 86 is now on sale with a price rises of just $300 to $800 – the first since Toyota stunned the automotive market more than four years ago with pricing that started from $29,990*.
Toyota Australia’s executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the latest improvements will enhance the appeal of the 86, particularly among sports-car fans who never imagined they could afford such a fun vehicle.
“These updates for the Toyota 86 are focused on improving the responsiveness, balance and handling of a car that is already rated in the same league as some legendary sports cars,” Mr Cramb said.
“It demonstrates the passion within Toyota for designing and engineering cars that look great and provide engaging driving dynamics – a passion that is attracting new, younger customers to the Toyota brand,” he said.
Australia’s best-selling sports car for each of the past three years, the 86 has become a cult car and a regular favourite for drifting and circuit racing, including the closely fought Toyota 86 Racing Series.
Total sales in Australia now surpass 17,800 cars with 67 per cent of buyers opting for the high-grade GTS variants and the GTS-based Blackline special-edition model.
The 2.0-litre aluminium horizontally opposed direct-injection engine, when mated to the six-speed manual gearbox, delivers maximum power of 152kW at 7,000rpm and 212Nm of torque over a 200rpm wider range of engine speeds, from 6400 to 6800rpm. The torque curve has also been improved at low rpms.
The engine achieves better breathing through improved intake and exhaust systems with revised runner lengths and diameters. The intake manifold is now made from aluminium, air flow has been improved and noise reduced.
Reinforced ribs on the rear surface of the cylinder block enhance rigidity while pistons have been modified for greater durability.
Additional performance from manual variants also comes from a revised final drive gear ratio of 4.3:1 compared with the previous 4.1:1.
Automatic versions retain outputs of 147kW at 7000rpm and 205Nm at 6400-6600rpm. With both transmissions, the 86mm x 86mm bore and stroke dimensions make the engine eager to rev, while dual variable valve timing helps deliver a broad torque curve.
Fuel economy is excellent at just 8.4 litres/100km for the manual and 7.1 litres/100km for the auto with CO2 emissions at 194 and 164 grams/km respectively#.
Under the skin, the body structure has been made stiffer, particularly at the rear where additional spot welding has been introduced and key components have been made thicker.
Coils springs and shock absorbers have been retuned for better handling, stability, ride comfort and turning performance, supported by a thicker rear stabiliser bar.
A priority for the development team was to ensure the tuning of electronic control systems added to driving enjoyment and handling of the classic front engine/rear-wheel drive coupe.
The result is a new selectable “track” mode, suitable for competitive motorsport. It enables the driver to adjust the level of stability and traction control, including a “fully off” option.
The word “track” is used with justification as the logic system was fine-tuned with the benefit of data gathered from the car’s racing performance in the demanding 24 Hours of Nürburgring.
All variants are now fitted with hill-start assist control, which helps prevent the car from rolling back on steep hills from a stop^.
Styling changes to the 86 have a specific dynamic purpose, in addition to looking good. The aggressive styling is focused on a larger grille, emphasising the car’s low, wide stance.
New “teeth” featured along the bottom edge of the lower grille in the redesigned nose section help smooth air flow. There is also a new, deeper rear bumper design and aero-stabilising fins have been introduced on the side of the car.
Reconfigured LED headlamps and daytime running lamps, standard across the range, incorporate new indicators that sit above a redesigned bumper. At the rear, there are sports LED tail lamps and a new bumper.
High-grade GTS variants feature an aluminium wing‐type spoiler to enhance aerodynamics and handling stability. GTS cars also gain a newly designed 17-inch cast-alloy wheel while GT models retain their 16-inch cast-alloy wheels. All variants are fitted with a temporary spare.
On the inside, the 86 is now fitted with the smallest-diameter steering wheel ever used in a Toyota – 362mm with a shape that provides optimal grip. The tachometer has been modified so that the 7000rpm mark is at the top of the meter – the engine speed at which maximum power output is achieved. These changes help the driver feel even more connected to the vehicle.
GTS variants gain a 4.2-inch colour multi-information display, steering wheel switches and a new soft-feel “Grandlux” material on the instrument panel. This suede-like material limits glare and helps create an environment in which the driver can focus on driving.
See our 86 range here.