At an unprecedented media event held at Yas Marina Abu Dhabi, Al-Futtaim Motors, exclusive distributors of Toyota in the UAE, announced the come-back of Toyota’s sports cars through the launch of the eagerly awaited Toyota 86.
The media day formed only a part of a week-long staff and distinguished customers launch event where all car enthusiasts enjoyed thrill-filled test drive and entertainment time.
The event hosted Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada who shared with the press the development history of the car and the challenges he and his team found in creating this car, while Simon Firth, Managing Director Al-Futtaim Motors took the audience through a brief history of Toyota’s sports car heritage and discussed the cars that mostly inspired the creation of the Toyota 86.
The Toyota 86 is Toyota’s new definition of an authentic rear-wheel-drive sports car with exceptionally balanced performance and handling, compelling style, flexible utility and surprising fuel economy.
The entirely driver-oriented vehicle is based on a new platform featuring the highly advanced aerodynamic body shell stretched over the engineering hard points, making it the world’s most compact four-seat sport car design.
Conceived to focus specifically on the purity of the classic sports car experience and fine-tuned to satisfy the most discerning enthusiast, the Toyota 86 inherits the spirit of former Toyota sports cars to reward drivers with pure driving involvement.
During the event Simon Frith stressed on the importance of this car to Toyota and how it will help emotionally reconnecting the customers to their cars, and injecting back the sports spirit into the brand: “Adding this new car to our lineup provides us the opportunity to expand the ranks of our customers and reaching out to a somehow forgotten target market, passionate about driving true sports cars. Toyota 86 will reignite this passion”
He added, ” Unlike other sports car the Toyota 86 is not just designed for the rich but will be accessible by many, because what fun is a sports car if you can’t afford to buy one.”
The Toyota 86 is designed to achieve an exceptional balance. The balance begins with the strategic use of the world’s only flat Boxer engine in a front-engine, rear-wheel drive configuration. The engine’s compact size and flat shape allow it to be mounted mid-ship and extremely low, This together with the focus and attention the engineers have given to the body design give the car a near perfect front-to-rear weight ratio of 53:47 and a low center of gravity.
The Toyota 86’s 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine is mounted as low as possible within the chassis and closer to its center, the boxer’s inherent advantages of low center of gravity, lightweight, and compact size are maximized. With this Toyota 86 achieves the honor of having one of the lowest possible centers of gravity in the world.
The new engine develops 200 hp/147 kW at 7000 rpm and maximum torque of 205 Nm at 6600 rpm, giving the 86 brisk, and a top speed of 230 km/h. Conversely, the new Toyota sports car returns an estimated average fuel consumption of 6.9 l/100 km.
This unique powertrain format combines with light weight, low inertia and a low centre of gravity to realize the best possible power-to-weight ratio. These attributes give the Toyota 86 lively, accessible performance, highly engaging, readily exploitable dynamic abilities with minimal electronic intrusion, and maximum driving pleasure.
Transmission and Handling
The flat engine mates with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The manual offers quick, precise shifts with a short-throw; while the automatic transmission features aggressive up shifts and sporty rev-matched down shifts that are initiated by steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The excellent balance is further realized by the Toyota 86’s lightweight design and compact size. This combination allows the car to be quick and nimble into and out of corners, with dynamic maneuverability and confident handling.
The fierce exterior of the Toyota 86 is a solid reflection of its inner power. The stylish profile reveals a hood and roof-line that is remarkably sleek and low, giving it an aerodynamic shape that channels air cleanly over to the top. The low stance continues to exaggerate the coupe’s menacing face, which is made up of sharp lines, a wide mouth and angular headlights. The aggressive front fenders protrude upward and boast the iconic ‘86’ piston emblem, which highlights the car’s AE86 heritage as well as its unique new Boxer engine. The rear fascia sits low and wide, with aerodynamic lower treatments that surround the sporty dual exhaust system.
The Toyota 86’s interior features a 2+2 seating configuration that is designed with both form and function in mind. The front seats are mounted extremely low and are comfortable yet assertive, while the rear seat folds down flat, creating flexible space. The large center-mounted tachometer is the focus of the three-gauge cluster, keeping the driver informed of the engine’s vitals. Speed is monitored by both digital and analog gauges.
Based on the concept of “Blank Canvas” the Toyota 86 engineering design incorporates elements that allow easy adjustment or customization to suit the user’s preferences. Making the car as simple as possible by, for instance, minimizing electronic control devices, allows customers to make these modifications with relative ease. Even higher performance tyres are not necessary on the Toyota 86 as its refined balance enables great road holding and this was the one overriding development goal of the Toyota 86: to develop a car which engages the driver without the need for expensive add-ons.
50-year heritage of front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports cars
Toyota has a 50 year history of creating exciting, driver-focused, front-engine rear-wheel drive sports cars that have proved as popular with the public as they have been successful in competition.
The new Toyota 86 captures the best elements of three key models from that rich sporting heritage: the Toyota Sports 800, the Toyota 2000GT and the AE86.
Though the Toyota 86 launches as the world’s only front-mounted horizontally opposed engine and rear-wheel drive package, it is not the first. That honor goes to Toyota’s two-cylinder boxer engine Sports 800, which the company began developing in 1962.
With its compact body and excellent fuel efficiency, the Sports 800 achieved great success in endurance races. The low centre of gravity of the boxer engine and front-engine, rear-drive powertrain format was considered ideal for a car providing maximum driving entertainment. For this reason, the Toyota 86 has adopted this classic layout for the first time since the Toyota Sports 800.
The beautiful 2000GT (only 337 units were built), a 2.0 litre straight-six-powered coupe first displayed at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show for the first time, helped establish the company’s global reputation as a sports car manufacturer and inspires the Toyota 86’s stylish exterior profile
Although the Toyota 86 arrives more than 25 years later, and doesn’t share a single piece of hardware with the AE 86, the spirit and the heritage of the AE86 bleed into every ounce of this car. The AE86 was not an extreme sports car. It was moderately priced, with a mass-produced engine and a compact, front engine, rear-wheel drive body.
The Number 86
Though paying homage to both the exhilarating drivability of the Corolla Levin AE86 and its unique relationship with owners, enthusiasts and tuning shops, the number 86 has played a further, significant role throughout the development of Toyota’s new sports car.
Auspiciously, the vehicle’s in-house development code was 086A. The boxer engine’s square bore and stroke set-up of 86 mm x 86 mm proves ideal, remaining faithful to Toyota’s long, 2.0 litre sports engine history. The legendary 3M engine of the 2000GT and the 1G-G engine of the Supra were both in-line six-cylinder configurations with a square bore and stroke of 75 mm. And the in-line, four-cylinder unit in the Celica and MR2 shares the 86’s square bore and stroke of 86 mm.