Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good Arriving in Australia June 2012 the Toyota 86 has everyone talking and for good reason too. It has been awhile since Toyota has released a truly inspiring sports car and what’s more an affordable one. The 86 definitely looks the part with a compact design, light weight and a low centre of gravity. From the front the 86 features a very sharp and aggressive front bumper; the large air vent is accompanied by a set of fog lights and side indicators. The sharp headlights look eager for action as they flow up into the raised front wheel arches. The raised wheel arches give the bonnet a ‘V’ shape that improves airflow up over the windshield. The great thing about the raised wheel arches is that if you ever decide to do a little track work they act as a guide, giving you a sense of where the wheels are on the track. From the side the 86 features a very sleek and flowing design; the elongated front end is reminiscent of Toyota’s 2000GT and the Jaguar E-Type of the same era. To help distinguish each model, besides the larger alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights, Toyota has designed a nifty logo for the 86. The logo consists of two opposing pistons that represent the boxer flat engine setup under the bonnet and a circle features in the middle with the numerals ‘86’. GT variants feature a black background to their logo while the GTS features red as the background. Making our way to the rear of the vehicle the 86 features a duck tail that seems to carry on from the flowing lines of the vehicle. The rear LED taillights feature an ‘afterburner’ design that moulds into the boot. The rear bumper features a very sporty and aggressive rear diffuser that integrates the massive twin exhaust pipes. In the middle of the rear diffuser is a Formula 1 inspired rear fog light that rounds out the overall sporty design.
Not so good Perhaps our only complaint would a set of 18 or 19-inch alloys to fill those guards. Other than that the Toyota 86 looks great from every angle.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Stepping inside, the Toyota 86 is a very driver focused car; as soon as you slip into the sports bucket seats you instantly form a connection with the car. Toyota offers up two model grades – 86 GT and 86 GTS, both come with the choice of six-speed manual or six-speed direct-shift automatic transmissions. The 86 GT features an analogue speedometer, premium three-spoke tilt and telescopic steering wheel that feels awesome underhand, shift lever and shift knob, and urethane-covered parking brake lever. Inside, 86 GTS has the additional features of leather-accented front seats with Alcantara fabric inserts, front-seat heaters, dual-zone auto climate-control air conditioning, aluminium pedals and door scuff plates. It also has a premium three-spoke steering wheel and parking brake lever, premium (carbon-look) instrument panel finish, frameless interior rear-view mirror and red stitching interior highlights.
Not so good There is a huge difference between the two models, having jumped into both, the 86 GT feels rather drab when compared to the 86 GTS. Things like the awesome sports instrument dials and frameless interior rear-view mirror are a stand out in the 86 GTS.
Performance

Performance

Good An interesting mix of technologies from both Toyota and Subaru has gone into creating the Toyota 86. Featuring the world’s first 2.0-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine that combines Subaru's traditional 'boxer' layout and Toyota's unique D-4S dual injection system. The end result is a 2.0-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 147kW of power at 7,000rpm and 205Nm of torque at 6,400 to 6,600rpm. Sending power to the rear wheels is a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic direct-shift transmission. The great thing about the Toyota 86 is that it’s naturally aspirated so there’s no turbo lag; power is delivered in a linear fashion rather than a surge of power that forced inducted motors tend to do. The Toyota 86 is all about the perfect balance between power and handling, and I think Toyota has nailed it.
Not so good I wouldn’t necessarily say the six-speed automatic direct-shift transmission is bad, because it’s actually quite good, however, driving an auto-box you lose that connection to the car that only comes with driving a manual.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good Jumping into the sports bucket seats you instantly notice how low you sit to the ground, Toyota say that your hips sit just 400mm from the ground and it feels about right. The low seating position is great because it gives you a good sense of what the car is doing. It’s no secret that this car was designed with high levels of handling, stability and steering response in mind – and it shows. The steering feel is sharp and direct with low levels body roll and high levels of grip, the Toyota 86 is well balanced and poised like a seasoned ballet dancer. The Toyota 86 has two grade-specific brake packages to suit the 16-inch wheels on 86 GT and 17-inch wheels on 86 GTS. 86 GT comes with 277mm diameter ventilated front discs and 286mm diameter solid rear discs. While the High-grade 86 GTS has 294mm diameter ventilated front discs and 290mm ventilated rear discs. Brake response and feel is quite good for both models.
Not so good The Toyota 86 is very much geared towards handling performance rather than comfort. The ride isn’t overly harsh but you tend to feel more bumps in the road than your average car – I guess that’s the trade-off for a car that handles as well as this.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Not only does the Toyota 86 look great it’s safe too, featuring a five-star ANCAP safety rating. Both model grades have seven SRS airbags, including driver's knee airbag and Toyota's latest-generation whiplash-injury lessening front seats. Active safety features include ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, traction control (TRC) and five-mode vehicle stability control (VSC). The Toyota 86 is priced so competitively there isn’t really any reason why you wouldn’t want to own one.
Not so good If you want one of these bad boys you’re going to have to wait as they are so popular and have a limited production.