Updated Toyota 86 promises even more driving fun
Toyota has updated its purist sports car, the 86. Also badged GT86 or FT86, depending on where it’s sold, the latest version of the two-door was previewed at the 2016 New York Motor Show, but has now been officially launched in Europe.
The final production version of the tweaked 86 links more aggressive styling to even more engaging road manners than the current car.
The basic 86 formula – wieldy dimensions, low weight, front-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive – remains unchanged. But the updated model gets keener looks, revised suspension settings and a more exclusive, better equipped interior – including a smaller, wieldier steering wheel.
The exterior modifications include a new bumper with finned front splitter and revised headlights, a reworked rear diffuser, and a new, full-width rear spoiler with end plates. The changes aren’t just cosmetic, but have been designed to further optimise airflow and therefore handling stability, without increasing drag.
Talking of handling, the most important (and least visible changes) are under the skin. The front and rear suspension have been tweaked, with a revised geometry for the front MacPherson struts, and slightly more compliant damper settings.
At the rear, the spring rates and damper settings have also been adapted in order to improve cornering and handling stability, assisted by a thicker anti-roll bar. Overall chassis stiffness has been further improved, thanks to reinforced suspension mounts and gearbox mounts, as well as additional welding points.
The two-litre four-cylinder boxer engine stays the same, but now offers small gains in output, with maximum power increasing from 147 kW to 152 kW, while the torque peak moves from 205 Nm to 212 Nm, thanks to updated electronics.
Drive remains to the rear wheels via a short-throw, close-ratio six-speed gearbox. There’s also the option of a six-speed auto transmission for those who prefer to let the car do its own cog swaps.
The reworked 86 benefits from a so-called track mode, which relaxes the thresholds of the vehicle stability control (VSC) and traction control systems to allow for a more thrilling driving experience.
The updated 86 is expected to go on sale in South Africa by midyear.