Many, many years ago, I had a few small toy racing cars – I remember trying to make spiders live in them so they could have drivers. These toy cars were modelled on the old Toyota 2000GT racing car. When I saw the new Toyota 86, I had a flashback to those days. Not because the Toyota 86 is ancient, fusty and worthy of being covered in cobwebs (far from it!) but because the designers have drawn on the classic and well-loved looks of the old 2000GT when they created the Toyota 86.
In the past, Toyotas got a bit of a reputation for being “reliable but boring because they’ve been designed by a computer.” Not any more. This is not to say that the Toyota 86 is less than reliable – Toyota is and always has been a reliable name in the motoring world and this isn’t going to change. But it does mean that the Toyota 86 has been designed by someone with a heart as well as with a brain – someone who fell in love with those old racing cars once upon a time and wanted to recreate them with a modern twist. According to sources from Toyota, the chief engineer overseeing the Toyota 86, Mr Tetsuya Tada brought in one of the original racers for the design team to have a look at – brought it right into the room for them – so they could get a literal feel for the aging beauty. And the design team have certainly got it right. The Toyota 86 has those long, slim lines of the 1960s racer that are similar to the E-type Jaguar of the same era. They’re the sort of lines that were designed with aerodynamics in mind but get psychologists, especially of the more Freudian sort, all excited (oops – bad word choice) about phallic symbols and subconscious this that and the other. Phooey to the psychologists and what they think the shape of this nippy little number mean. In the case of the Toyota 86, there’s something much less subtle going on: the style taps into happy childhood memories and ideas of what a fast car “should” look like.
But the Toyota 86 isn’t completely retro in its styling. It is a completely modern two-door sports coupé that blends old and new harmoniously. Yes, if you look at the Toyota 86 and the old 2000GT side on, you’ll see the resemblance, even down to the shape of the rear window, but you’ll also see some differences. Times have changed and the safety standards are tougher, so you’ll notice that the Toyota 86 has bigger headlights, an air dam, a more robust-looking rear end and actually has an A-pillar (the old 2000GT just had glass up the front). If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of the exterior styling of the Toyota 86, the list includes dual exhaust pipes, halogen headlamps, power folding rear view mirrors and alloy wheels (16 inches in diameter for the GT, 17 for the GTS). And if you get the Toyota 86 GTS, you can really pour on the trim with the body kit option, which includes front and rear bumper skirts, side skirts and a large rear spoiler.
Open the door into the driver’s seat of the Toyota 86 and all thoughts of 1960s motoring are sent fleeing. The interior of the Toyota 86 is all modern. The Toyota 86 GTS is particularly stunning with the “raw power” look of the aluminium paddles sitting where you need them, but even the Toyota 86 GT looks pretty darn snappy. And as for the bells and whistles – well! The old racing car certainly didn’t have the cruise control; the CD/Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB input and an auxiliary audio input; the multifunction display screen; the cupholders or the manual air-con. But the Toyota 86 does. For the GTS model, throw in voice recognition on the audio and a sat-navigation system. One particularly lovely thing that the designers of the Toyota 86 have done is that they have realised that those who have a sports car often like to hear the engine growl, so they’ve managed to pipe the engine noise into the cabin if you want it. And the seats in the Toyota 86 are comfy.
And the Toyota 86 has all the modern safety bits and pieces, too. The brakes on the Toyota 86 are tougher than what the old racing car had, being disc brakes, and they have ABS, BA and EBD on tap for those hairy moments. The brakes are also part of the VSC and VSC Sport stability system, which you can select or deselect depending on where you’re driving at the moment. The Toyota 86 also comes fitted with seven SRS airbags – not bad for a little sports coupé – but you probably hope that you’ll never see these in action.
OK, now for the really good part: under the bonnet. While the Toyota 86 has the same rear-wheel drive setup as the old 2000GT, the new car would leave the old one for dead on the track. In fact, the performance of the Toyota 86 has indeed been tested on the Nürburgring and also on the Fuji International Speedway, and came through with flying colours. Under the long, slim bonnet you’ll find a passionate heart: passionate enough to put out 147 kW of power at 7000 rpm and 205 Nm of torque at 6400–6600 rpm. The unit responsible for this pepper is a horizontally opposed boxer engine (another retro touch that draws inspiration from the Sports 800) with D-4S direct injection. And, in case you’re wondering, it’s a two-litre petrol unit. This is coupled to the wheels via either six-speed manual or automatic transmission (paddle shifters in the GTS).
As we often believed as children, red cars go faster, so naturally the Toyota 86 comes in red. But in case red’s not your thing, it also comes in white, two shades of grey, black, navy blue and an absolutely sizzling orange. Who says Toyotas are boring? This one sure isn’t!
The current model series includes the:
For any more information on the Toyota 86, or for that matter any other new car, contact one of our friendly consultants on 1300 303 181. If you’d like some fleet discount pricing (yes even for private buyers!), we can submit vehicle quote requests out to our national network of Toyota dealers and come back with pricing within 24 hours. Private Fleet – car buying made easy!
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