2018 Toyota 86 GT Review by David Colman
The deal of the 21st century for dedicated sports car drivers.
By David Colman
Special Correspondent to The Auto Channel
When the FR-S became the 86, Toyota implemented a few significant changes. Topping the list was a direct and new port fuel injection system that bumped horsepower from 200 to 205. In a car that verges on being underpowered, this proves a useful boost, and you will be aurally titillated by the pulsing shriek of the flat four engine as it reaches for its 8000rpm redline. Toyota has standardized Bridgestone Turanza ES400 radials for newly delivered 86s. This is an excellent all-season tire choice, thanks to a pliable wear rating of TW260, and a short sidewall configuration (215/45R17) which generates prodigious cornering grip. Much like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Toyota 86 behaves like a barely civilized go-kart when negotiating switchbacks. For pure pleasure of feedback, it's difficult to top the 86 on a curvy road, no matter how much more you spend on your ride.
One of the true delights on tap in this cockpit is the 6-speed manual gearbox which offers brilliant precision. The clutch action is light and engagement is never overly sensitive. The ratios are ideal for everything from back road bashing to freeway cruising. The only negative is lack of a hill-holder so you'll have to coordinate hill starts the old fashioned way - with the fly-off handbrake located on the central tunnel console. Even this almost lost art proves to be something of a fun challenge. Assisting immensely in generating forward thrust is the 86' standard Torsen Limited Slip Differential (LSD). This unit is the best in the business, the absolute race car standard when it comes to equalizing drive to rear wheels that are spinning at different speeds. You can actually sense the Torsen kicking in when you boot the 86 out of a slow turn and feel the tail end ratchet slightly as the LSD transfers load distribution from side to side. No modern electrical pseudo-LSD will ever give you this level of satisfaction and confidence.
2018 TOYOTA 86 GT
ENGINE: 2.0 liter Four Cylinder Boxer, DOHC, 16 Valves
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 21MPG City/28MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $29,280
HYPES: THE affordable sports coupe
GRIPES: Hill-holder clutch missing
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10
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