New vs Used

Toy­ota’s 86 spurs mem­o­ries of Nis­san’s by­gone bel­ter

Motor (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Boost and a decade are all that sep­a­rates them

The 86 pro­duces lev­els of feed­back not seen since the S15 200SX

YOU’VE driven front-driv­ers for the past decade to teach your­self heel-and-toe and lift-off over­steer. But you’re bored, and want to ex­plore a whole new world with a rear-driver. Well, you’re spoilt for choice while Holden’s Com­modore SS is still around, the Nis­san 370Z waits for a Nismo spin-off, and Mazda’s MX-5 comes with two en­gines.

But the most fo­cused op­tion has to be Toy­ota’s 86. At slightly more than 30 grand it comes with a prop­shaft, revvy atmo 2.0-litre four and a mod­ern, sorted chas­sis pack­age.

Toy­ota’s LSD-equipped driv­e­train and crys­tal-clear steer­ing make it a driv­ing de­light, pro­duc­ing lev­els of feed­back and rear-drive ad­justa­bil­ity not seen since, well, the S15 Nis­san 200SX – our match-up’s ‘used’ con­tender.

Known as the Sil­via in Japan, it sold here from 1991 to 2003. It was heav­ily up­dated in ’99 for the S15 plat­form, scor­ing a six-speed man­ual, smaller tracks, and a he­li­cal LSD in place of a fluid-filled unit for the stiffer Spec Rs.

Its 2.0-litre turbo four was left alone, with Japan keep­ing an up­graded 184kW spec donk for them­selves, mean­ing we did with a 147kW/265Nm rear-drive coupe that could run to triple fig­ures in 6.9sec and cross the quar­ter mile in 14.80sec at 156.3km/h. Very sim­i­lar fig­ures, in fact, to what MO­TOR first ex­tracted from a Toy­ota 86.

The 200SX also re­lied on a light­weight chas­sis, un­der­pinned by a strut-front/multi-link rear and pointed by a good steer­ing rack, more than a decade ago to de­liver the same thrills that have made the 86 such a hit.

Thanks to the Nis­san’s time­less, mus­cu­lar looks and turbo tune­abil­ity, few re­main in orig­i­nal con­di­tion. But they do ex­ist, even in lightly mod­i­fied form, and would be a great dis­count into the 86-es­que driv­ing game.

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