AT A GLANCE

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - FIRST DRIVE - MAKE AN IN­QUIRY AT PA­CIFIC TOY­OTA, 235 MULGRAVE RD, BUN­GA­LOW, 4030 7444.

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.

CHRIS RI­LEY

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