New Toyota GT86 gets performance upgrades, but no power boost
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In a time of brands harping on about animalistic power and torque figures, it's nice to see a few manufacturers trying to keep the lightweight sports car alive.
The Mazda MX-5 and (on a pricier scale admittedly) the Porsche Cayman are two examples of this, but there's also the Toyota GT86 to consider. And a 2019 refresh for Toyota's cheapest rear-wheel drive sports car has just been revealed.
As you can probably tell, not many of those changes are visual. There's a new colour in the line-up — Magnetite Grey — but otherwise the only other way to spot a MY2019 GT86 is by spotting the new 10-spoke 17-inch wheels.
A glance behind the spokes of those wheels is also somewhat telling, too.
The new GT86 gains the brakes and dampers from the limited edition Chris Amon GT86 that Toyota unveiled a couple of years ago.
In terms of the brakes, this means a larger diameter Brembo brake disc — 326mm up front and 316mm down back. That's a sizable increase from the 294mm fronts and 290mm rears from the last model. They're thicker too, by 6mm (front) and 2mm (rear) respectively.
The SACHS dampers meanwhile are designed to improve the GT86s road-holding abilities while helping it retain ride-quality friendly enough for daily use.
Toyota have confirmed that the entry level 86 model has been removed from the line-up, and pricing for the GT86 has dropped — from $51,986 (manual) and $52,986 (automatic) to $48,990 (manual) and $49,990 (automatic).
What hasn't changed is the power extracted from the GT86's naturally aspirated boxer 2.0-litre engine. It still produces 152kW of power in 6-speed manual models, and 147kW of power in 6-speed automatic models.
That will be to the ire of those who have wanted more power from the sports car, but with the Supra having now landed, increases to the GT86's power figures are highly unlikely until an all-new model comes.
And, a focus on power is misplaced here anyway. The GT86's core strengths are its incredibly balanced and playful chassis, and its relatively low cost of entry. Adding power means adding weight and price. And regardless in the six years since the GT86 debuted, the amount of aftermarket options out there for more power are countless.
“When we launched the 86 in 2012, we injected fun to drive excitement into our line-up and brand,” says Toyota New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Neeraj Lala.
“Toyota is committed to investing in sports cars as they feed the excitement into the rest of our models. [...] 86 and Supra are creating a new buzz amongst our customers and staff at Toyota stores.”