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Improving on the purest, most engaging and dynamic driving experience Toyota delivers is a lofty development goal, but one that has been successfully realised with the arrival of the MY15 Toyota 86 and GT86.
Upon its debut in 2012 the 86 was hailed as a modern performance phenomenon; a classic rear-drive sports coupe offering perfect weight distribution, perfect balance and a crisp and communicative on-road feel for out-and-out driver involvement.
“When a model launches its first iteration as perfectly realised as the 86 did almost three years ago, the assumption could be made that the car’s development process freezes at that point. Naturally, this couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Neeraj Lala, Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Product. “We are now receiving the 86’s third series of enhancements.
“Toyota’s engineering division has continued to evolve key 86 performance attributes, delivering in the MY15 model a series of updates that will enhance the enthusiast driver’s ability to safely and confidently control the car as appropriate to the environment, whether that be on the road or the track.”
Together the 86 and GT86 models showcase a number of enhancements designed to further improve and develop the on-road dynamics of this award-winning sports car, as well as add to the tactile enjoyment of its driver-orientated cockpit.
Remarkably for such an agile sports coupe, handling and stability gets even better with the introduction of increased suspension rigidity and re-tuned shock absorbers. New fixation points and mounting bolts were specified and lower-friction oil, oil seals and guide bushings were also adopted.
The end result is a more stable damping action and improved friction control, a reduction in body-roll and further enhancement of that all important steering feel.
With driver involvement and enjoyment remaining the chief motivating factors, the 86 and GT86 suspension upgrade is designed to make it easier for the driver to read the road or track ahead and maintain confident and predictable car control.
Inside the cockpit the GT86 receives a new carbon fibre dashboard insert within the instrument panel, while GT86 owners now have the option of specifying a unique black and red interior. The vivid red accents functional areas such as the steering knob, parking brake lever, door handle grips and steering wheel. Red is also used for the main sections of the seat upholstery, adding further to the model’s performance-bred DNA.
Additionally MY15 cars will also receive an updated ‘shark fin’ antenna, improving the signature low profile exterior silhouette and aerodynamics.
The 86 also now receives the same meters as the GT86, including digital speedometer providing improved visibility of speed.
These MY15 changes compliments those made in 2013, including limited slip differential.
“Rest assured that even with these enhancements, the 86 will remain the pure two-door sports coupe it has been since launch, offering real bang-for-buck performance to New Zealand’s enthusiast drivers,” says Lala.
The Toyota 86 manual’s recommended selling price remains unchanged at $42,586 and $43,586 for the automatic iteration. The popular GT86 starts at $47,486 for the manual, with just a $1000 premium once again for the automatic.
And as before, the 86 also remains available in fire-breathing TRD 86 and TRD GT86 guise, arriving fully fettled with a comprehensive array of specialised locally-sourced and Toyota Racing Development factory race components.
Toyota Motorsport has confirmed that the GT86 CS-R3 rally car will make its public debut at ADAC Rallye Deutschland, the ninth round of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship on 21-24 August. Former female world champion Isolde Holderied will drive the CS-R3. One of her main tasks will be to evaluate the car, which is currently a prototype, in order to refine the design prior to confirmation of the final specifications.