AT A GLANCE
IT HAD to happen. Toyota has lifted the price of its cult 86 sports car, with the introduction of a new, heavily revised midlife update.
The good news is that the new 86 is just $800 more, even four years after launch, with a starting figure of $30,790 for the entry GT manual.
The better equipped GTS is $500 more, while the increase has been limited to just $300 for the top of the line auto.
Two-thirds of buyers opt for the GTS with a manual transmission.
Buyers will appreciate the chassis and suspension tweaks, improved aero package and the new “track” mode setting, which enables the driver to adjust the level of stability and traction control, including a “fully off” option.
The 2.0-litre Subaru-built boxer engine is good for 152kW/212Nm in the manual.
In the auto, outputs are held at 147kW/205Nm as the higher figures had an adverse impact on gear-change characteristics.
More aggressive styling, designed to emphasise the low, wide stance of the car, helps to improve airflow, giving the car more grip and greater accuracy as it turns into corners.
A thicker rear stabiliser bar assists with corner grip.
There’s a smaller-diameter steering wheel and, on the GTS variants, new performance data options including a digital speedo, stopwatch and lap timer, G-force monitor and power and torque curve display.
All variants are now also fitted with hill-start assist.
Redesigned LED headlights and daytime running lights incorporate new indicators that sit above a new look bumper. At the rear, there’s also a new bumper and LED tail-lights.
The GTS gets new design 17-inch alloys and a small, low profile aluminium rear wing.
ON THE ROAD
Drivers other than devotees would be hard pressed to tell the difference between this and the previous model. But it is, as ever, a ball to drive — and still as slow as a wet week off the line.
The sweet spot is 5000rpm, we discovered this week, threading the car from corner to corner along a winding country road where it’s in its element.
Given the scant torque delivered high in the rev range, overtaking requires planning, a lower gear and plenty of revs.
Tall people will find getting in and out of the 86 a challenge but there’s plenty of head and legroom in the cabin. The tiny
TOYOTA 86 PRICE WARRANTY
1257kg rear pew is virtually unusable.
The steering is direct and accurate and the car has a little extra urge out of corners. The manual’s small close-ratio shifter makes changing gears a joy.
Traction control can be turned off, primarily for track use, and we’d caution against this. Leaving it on doesn’t get in the way of the fun.
The softer suspension delivers a bouncier ride, with the rear apt to occasional sideto-side jigs. On our drive, it never felt close to letting go.
Artificially enhanced, the exhaust note sounds nothing like a boxer engine and serves to amp up the fun. Plenty of noise intrudes on coarse bitumen.