Toyota South Africa's 86 has been with us for 6 years now, and in that time has not gained a single kilowatt.
Power is still 147kw from its naturally aspirated 2.0-litre flat four, and while many may bemoan the fact that it needs more grunt, Toyota has always said that more power would unbalance the car. And with the GT86 lorded as such a great 'drivers' car', Toyota was not going to mess with that formula.
They have however focused on improving handling though - as seen with Toyota USA's 2019 86 TRD Special Edition, which gets four-piston front and two-piston rear Brembo brakes, SACHS dampers, and Michelin Pilot Sport wrapped 18-inch TRD alloy wheels. The special edition 86, available exclusively in Raven black complete with tri-color body stripes, also gets a full TRD body kit and a TRD exhaust system.
The interior also gets some tweaks, in the form of a red and black upholstery, which include a bi-colour steering wheels and sports seats. Other highlights include red seat-belts, suede touches throughout, contrasting red stitching, and lastly a TRD logo embroidered on the passenger airbag cover.
A highlight for performance purists is the TRD Special Edition’s 4.2-inch TFT Multi-Information Display (MID) with vehicle data screens, which features essential data like G-force meter and stopwatch, horsepower and torque curves, engine coolant and oil temperatures, and fuel consumption. The 86 comes standard with Display Audio featuring a 7-inch touchscreen display. The eight-speaker Pioneer audio system includes Bluetooth for hands-free phone capability and music streaming, HD Radio, iPod connectivity, and AUX/USB inputs.
For ardent Toyota fans, though, ‘86’ remains a homage to the AE86, the global name for the Toyota Corolla GT-S that sold in the US in the mid-1980s. It was an affordable, agile, rear-drive sports coupe with a high-revving 4A-GE 1.6-litre engine that earned a reputation for being a blast to drive. In Japan, it was known as “hachi-roku,” meaning 8-6. Today, many enthusiasts build them into drift machines. On the new model, ‘86’ logos have been incorporated into a badge on the front fender, as well as inside the headlamps.
The model will be limited to just 1,418 units and sold exclusively in the US, with pricing starting at US$32 420 (ZAR 433 000). For reference, the 86 is priced from R575 700 in South Africa.