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TOYOTA CONNECT


he journey from concept to car on the 86 began in 2006. Refined and re- released in October last


year, the 2017 offering is the world’s most compact four-seat sports car that captures some of the best qualities of three models from Toyota’s rich sporting heritage: the Sports 800, 2000GT and Corolla GT (AE86). It’s been conceived as an entirely driver- focused machine, designed to deliver a classic sports car experience. That means precise, instant responses to the smallest throttle and steering inputs and the kind of performance sought by those for whom driving is a passion, not a necessity. It’s a vehicle with the precise control, confidence- inspiring stability and sheer driving entertainment for which the 86 has already become renowned. Talking about sheer motoring thrills, Ian McLaren from Car magazine (one


IT’S BEEN CONCEIVED AS AN ENTIRELY DRIVER- FOCUSED MACHINE, DESIGNED TO DELIVER A CLASSIC SPORTS CAR EXPERIENCE.


of five motoring journalists hosted by Toyota SA’s Riaan Esterhuysen in Finland) writes of his ice driving experience in the 86: “Mid-January weather conditions north of the Arctic Circle aren’t exactly conducive to testing grip levels. Instead, via a series of prescribed snow-covered disciplines, we were reminded how much fun can be had behind the wheel of a moderately powerful, yet impressively well-balanced, sports car. “While being able to hold a second-


gear drift on a frozen Finnish lake and successfully navigate a rally-style, snowbank-lined handling course in a car so perfectly suited to such activities will remain a highlight of my career, I sympathise with South African 86 owners who may never have the opportunity, be it on track or on a slippery surface, to experience all the 86 has to offer. Instead, they can only revel in the potential of their vehicle.”


The engineering design of the 86


includes parts that can easily be adjusted or customised so that owners can tailor the car to personal preferences – simplifying the vehicle, for example, by minimising the number of electronic control devices. And to enhance the fun factor, high-performance tyres were rejected in favour of standard rubber. Rather than fitting a heavy, large- capacity powertrain, Toyota opted instead to go back to its sporting roots, installing a compact, front-mounted, free-revving, horizontally opposed “boxer” petrol engine that drives the rear wheels. The powertrain combines with the car’s light weight, low inertia and low centre of gravity to achieve the best possible power-to-weight ratio. For the driver, that means lively, accessible performance and dynamic character, with minimal intrusion from electronic systems. In styling terms, a lower nose and new LED headlight units, with integrated turn indicators and daytime running lights, emphasise the car’s


horizontal lines. New 10-spoke cast alloy wheels have also been introduced. Tellingly, every design detail maintains or improves the car’s aerodynamics, including the addition of two fins in the lower bumper beneath the grille aperture. For driver comfort, changes to the cabin see upgrades on trim and upholstery quality, while a new, smaller- diameter steering wheel with switchgear to control the audio improves the driving experience. There’s a new 4,2” colour TFT multi-information display that features additional read-outs for performance-focused driving, including torque and power curves, lap time function and G-force monitor. Drivers can now also make use of a new “Track” driving mode, which de- activates the car’s vehicle stability control and traction control electronic systems. To raise levels of handling, stability and ride comfort, detailed changes have been made to the springs and dampers and strategic reinforcements have been introduced.


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