Toyota struck pure motoring gold with its release of the 86 coupé in 2012. The Toyota 86 was like the birth of a thoroughbred colt in the Toyota workhorse stable when it was first launched in 2012. This was a boisterous and playful car from the get go, and the newly upgraded model is no different. Acclaimed for its Subaru-inspired (and co-developed) front-mounted, normally aspirated boxer engine and rear-wheel drive layout; low centre of gravity and trackinspired suspension set-up; direct steering and short gear ratios, the 86 was track-ready from day one.
It is even better now, with a host of cosmetic upgrades on the interior and exterior, as well as the suspension, which features revised spring rates and damping with a firmer antiroll bar at the rear. The reward is evident as this baby sports coupé hunkers down on the high-speed straights, while it tucks into corners with great control. Even though the 86 remains sans turbo-charging, the engine has been tweaked to deliver 4 kw more power, with maximum torque of 205 Nm delivered between 6,000 and 6,400 r/min, which makes this high-revving engine with its relatively small power band such fun to exploit. The Standard version is available only with the short-throw six-speed manual, while the High specification version offers a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters in addition to the manual. While the automatic adds a certain level of smoothness and comfort, the manual gearbox makes for the most engaging drive.
Now in its fifth year of production and second upgrade, the Toyota 86 has lost none of its joie de vivre that made it so much fun to drive in the first place. Long live the 86! Pricing starts at R449,600