Just a few days back, Toyota dropped details on their 2019 lineup for the 86 coupe. Toyota and myself alike, both basically overlooked all the OG ones, and focused directly on what is being called the “Ultimate Performance” version, the Toyota 86 TRD Special Edition.
It keeps the original’s superb power-to-weight stats, sporty feel, and good looking design — but with plenty of upgrades to thank, its now the highest performance version of the 86 to date. Toyota is calling it the “Purist’s Dream,” taking inspiration from the legendary Toyota 2000 GT and AE86 (maybe better known as the Corolla GT-S here in the States).
With the 2.0-liter boxer under the hood, the car pushes the same 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque as its predecessor. Its “square” dimensions (equal bore and stroke) of 86mm make for a high-revving engine, but its dual variable-valve timing broadens the torque curve, making the 86 a very fun and responsive daily driver.
Performance-wise, the list of upgrades from the base model is small, but mighty. In addition to the MacPherson suspension parts and original Torsen LSD, new SACHS dampers as well as Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires make a huge difference when it comes to cornering and overall grip. The car comes to a stop thanks to new huge four-piston front/two-piston rear Brembo brakes.
Buyers choose from two different transmission options — either the purists favorite, a six-speed manual paired with a short-throw shifter (which we would choose), or a fast-shifting ECT-i (electronically controlled with intelligence) automatic with paddles. Either way, when paired with the electronically-assisted steering, which takes less than two-and-a-half turns to go lock-to-lock, and small diameter wheel, this makes for a great connection between the driver and the road. For track driving or competitive autocross events, the car’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) can be put in “Track” mode or turned completely off.
As said in the official release, “You can’t do much better for lineage than the legendary Toyota 2000 GT,” and that’s why the new 86 TRD Special Edition mirrors its low roof height, flowing front fenders, and sleek simple profile.
The paint is a brand new exclusive color called Neptune, and is accented with a matte-black rear wing, as well as a pretty cool classic TRD tricolor graphic and body kit.
It features all of the modern standard exterior amenities and then some; including LED lighting, vortex generators, heated mirrors, an aerodynamic floor undercover, and a dual stainless-tipped TRD exhaust system. Inside, the driver is greeted by a sporty bolstered bucket seat, push button start, huge display, upgraded audio system, red accents, and suede-like materials throughout. With a multitude of different vehicle data screens, the large 4.2-inch TFT Multi-Information Display (MID) is a huge plus for performance-driving enthusiasts — showing essential data such as a G-force meter, stopwatch, horsepower and torque curves, engine coolant and oil temperatures, as well as fuel consumption.
The 2019 Toyota 86 TRD Special Edition will be limited to only 1,418 units and will go on sale later this month.