The Toyota 86 has been making waves in the automotive world since its launch in 2012, but particularly in Australia, where petrol-heads have snapped up ten per cent of worldwide sales. With its sleek lines, two-litre 200hp engine and impeccable handling, it’s easy to understand why. The great handling is due to the ultra-low centre of gravity, lightweight frame and minimal electronic intrusion. Indeed, Toyota has struck the optimum power to weight balance and at the flick of a switch the driver can turn off the traction control and ESP to fully enjoy this car’s capabilities.
Toyota likes staying true to it’s roots, and rightly so, with past successes including the Celica, Supra and MR2. The Toyota 86 is said to reference the AE86, 2000GT and the Sports 800. Just like the AE86, the Toyota 86 has a front-engine, rear-wheel drive configuration, and its exterior design follows similar sleek lines to those of the 2000GT. Because of the horizontal plane of the boxer engine pistons, the engine can be mounted very low, enabling the bonnet to be sunk down, creating sexy raised areas above the wheels.
The horizontally opposed engine combines the boxer configuration with Toyota’s very own D-4S direct injection system, and it being naturally aspirated, the driver can enjoy instant torque and not only that, but clever pipe-work brings the fabulous sound right into the cockpit, combining to create a truly enjoyable driving experience. The Toyota 86’s winning formula has brought a younger clientele to the brand, with a significant number of Australian sales being from first-time car buyers.
Facts and Figures
Talking figures, the Toyota 86 has achieved 100,000 sales worldwide with 39,000 of those from Japan, 35,000 from the US and over 10,000 in Australia, making it the country’s best-selling sports car to date. Price is obviously a key factor in automotive success, and the Toyota 86 certainly has an appealing price tag of just $29,990 for the manual GT model. Despite this, it is in fact the more expensive GTS variants that have been most popular, accounting for two thirds of Australian sales.
The Toyota 86 has received rave reviews since its launch in 2012, and together with its appearance, performance and handling, Toyota has made sure to pay close attention to detail, and it is these little touches that make the Toyota 86 really special. For example, the ‘86’ badge represents four wheels drifting, with the design to the sides of it illustrating the horizontally opposed boxer engine. It doesn’t stop there – the bore and stroke measures 86 x 86mm and even the exhaust pipe has a 86mm diameter!
Track-day enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that four spare wheels can be carried in the back, and the headrests have been specially designed so that they can be reversed to accommodate helmets. For those wishing to fit a roll-cage, this too has been catered for, with the door handles being carefully positioned so that they will not be obstructed.
There are of course a minor niggle with the Toyota 86 – car perfection being nearly impossible to achieve by any manufacturer. Some may be irritated by the high-mount brake light that sits in the middle of the rear windscreen. For those new to driving the Toyota 86, it could be both annoying and distracting, but it is legally required, so it is something sports car enthusiasts will just have to get used to. Another point, which depends on the driver’s size, is that the back seats don’t have a huge amount of leg room if the seat is pushed back. These points are, as mentioned, minor and should not dissuade prospective buyers from trying out this awesome sports car, which excels in all the areas that matter.
Erin would like to thank New Town Toyota in Perth for access to the amazing Toyota 86.