It has been ages since Toyota came up with something that had soul. It’s been nothing but one Prius after the next and boring has been the reference that stuck itself to the Toyota name in my, and many others’, brain.
But it wasn’t always so! Toyota has produced a great many of sports and high performance cars. It started with the Toyota Sports 800, a light-weight little car with a 0.8 litre two-cylinder boxer engine, in 1965. That wasn’t particularly fast, but quicker cars followed through the years, such as the 2000GT (1967 to 1970), Supra (1979 to 2002) and AE86 (1983 to 1987). That last one is the new Toyota GT86’s most direct source of inspiration.
The AE86 was a nimble rear-wheel drive car. Not too much power, but not too much weight either. It has seen a lot of racing action throughout its lifetime and even today many are employed as drift racers. Power put to the road through the rear tyres and a very good weight balance makes it particularly suitable for the purpose.
The all new GT86 that Toyota started producing this year isn’t much different. Of course, its styling has progressed, but low weight, good balance and rear-wheel drive are still key words when considering this car. It weighs between 2,600 and 2,750 pounds, depending on drive train chosen, puts out a healthy 200 horses on the rear wheels and features a 53-47 front-to-rear weight distribution. Consequently, this thing will turn and drift well.
Also like its predecessor, and other sporty Toyotas of the past, the GT86 will be very popular with tuners. I can just tell. No psychic needed. Besides, the first evidence has already arrived in the form of Japanese tuner company Gazoo. By bolting on a so-called “twin-charger” they add 118 horses to the balance and more than double the max torque of the 2.0 litre boxer, to 421 Nm.
Now it’s really going to go sideways! More will follow, I’m sure of that.