Toyota has felt compelled to update the 86 sports car; it’s that time in the car’s model cycle and that’s how things work in the car industry.
What Toyota has avoided doing is fixing something that isn’t broken. This year’s facelift was minor indeed and we couldn’t be happier. It’s was and still is a sublime rear-drive sports car at an affordable price.
There have been small styling changes, and a tad more power and torque for the manual model thanks to revised intake and exhaust systems, revised pistons and a more rigid cylinder block.
There is revised gearing and some retuning of the suspension.
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Inside, the steering wheel is now smaller and the GT86 has a new revcounter with the 7000rpn redline at the top, and new trim.
Worthy stuff, but no big deal? Exactly. And after five years, the 86 is no less engaging on road and track.
The Toyota/Subaru collaboration is an enthusiast car through and through, with a low centre of gravity, light weight, compact dimensions and controls that are all about communication and handling precision.
The new 2017-model was also a fitting vehicle for a tribute to Kiwi motor-racing great Chris Amon, who passed away last year.
The Chris Amon Edition GT86 isn’t one we’ve driven, nor is it likely – just 10 were created by Toyota New Zealand.
The $55,990 Amon Edition has Sachs shock absorbers and Brembo brakes, with unique 17-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels.
The exterior is finished in a unique Solar Flare orange colour and there’s a special metallic finish on the door handles and rear spoiler. INside, there’s special trim with leather, Alcantara and orange stitching.
AT A GLANCE
Price range: $46,986 (86 manual) to $52,986 (GT86 automatic).
Powertrain: 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed petrol four with 152kW/212Nm (six-speed manual) or 147kW/205Nm (six-speed automatic).