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Updated Toyota 86 revealed, due in Australia soon

The Toyota 86 gets a mid-life upgrade with fractionally more power…

An updated Toyota 86 will be revealed at the New York Motor Show starting on March 25th, and it will be on sale in Australia as an MY17 model in quarter four of 2016.

Toyota say the exterior and interior design has been revised, as has the suspension. And the change all enthusiasts wanted…more power. But don’t get excited because there’s a whole 4kW of power and another 9Nm of torque.


The suspension is just changes to shock absorber and spring rates, but it’s not clear why it was changed.

The gear ratios on manual variants have been changed for “increased performance” which might mean closing the gap between second and third gear…we’ve asked Toyota for more information.

Specifics for the exterior are:

  • A larger grill
  • LED headlamps and new indicators
  • LED tail lamps and a new bumper
  • New alloy wheels

On the inside the GTS has a new soft-feel ‘Grandlux’ material, silver stitching on the seats, and there’s now audio controls on the steering wheel.


The car now has hill start assist (HSA) to help with hillstarts.




More specifically, this is not the 86 we were looking for. The current model has 147kW and a chassis capable of handling much, much more so to offer another 4kW (3% more) is pointless and it is doubtful anyone would notice. The 9Nm of torque isn’t much better, just 4% more going from 205Nm to 214Nm. It would have been nice to see 160kW+ and 250Nm, but if you’re after those figures (or more) then the aftermaket is only too ready to help with superchargers, turbochargers, E85 kits and much more.

The styling changes are minor, as befits the mechanical changes. It would not be right to radically restyle the car if the engineering under the body is the same. Maybe we can hope the front bumper attachement points have been improved so the well-known gap between bumper and body is a thing of the past.

The suspension changes must be minor as presumably all the geometry components are the same – fiddling with rebound/extension rates on springs and dampers is easy to do, but the question is why they’ve bothered. There doesn’t seem to be enough mechanical changes to warrant it, but maybe it’s just been done so the claim can be made it’s ‘improved’. One possibility is that Toyota have had an attack of the sensibles and dialled out a bit of the 86’s oversteer tendency, which would be a shame for panelbeaters the world over.

The GTS audio controls on the steering wheel is a shame too. The 86 is rare, if not unique for a modern car as it has a steering wheel unadorned by controls…and now that’s changed.

It is interesting to speculate on the forthcoming Toyota 86 race series, as everyone has built their cars around the previous model – yet this one will be out soon. Slightly odd timing.

All we have from Toyota is this rather stock statement from Toyota executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb:

“A pure focus on dynamic response and driver engagement has struck a chord with its growing fan base, and this 86 update is sure to add further fuel to that fire”.

Well, this update won’t add any petrol to the fire, maybe just a couple of gum leaves. Let’s hope that Toyota have a more comprehensive 86 update in the works which looks something like what we hoped for. This is to take nothing away from the sheer brilliance of the 86 which richly deserves its acclaim, but the enthusiasts were looking for more than a minor refresh after four years. But given this refresh, we speculate that the update we really want is at least two years distant.

We’ve sent a bundle of questions off to Toyota, and of course one to Subaru, and we’ll publish any useful answers we get soon as we can.

Related links

Here’s two images of the current model so you can compare old and new:

Toyota-86-G-2012-Photo-02 86-gts-sfx-sonic-blue

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7 years ago

I really don’t like the new grill. It isn’t a huge change, but it’s just tipped it onto the wrong side of the scales for me… I’m also on the fence about the steering wheel controls. On one hand, I tend to go on long drives and it’s handy having those as I love my music. I do get the purist angle though.

7 years ago

Under-powered, under-tyred, under-braked. Potentially awesome car. Tell me does any one complain to Porsche about the Cayman or Boxster being overpowered, so why all the apologists for Toyota, saying 86 doesn’t need more power. 200kW/350Nm would make it so much sweeter. If you’ve driven one of the aftermarket conversions making around 230kW and running much better brakes, suspension and wheels and tyre combo, it’s a much sweeter drive than the stock car, and handles the extra power with ease. It in no way lessens the great qualities of the 86.

7 years ago

Why not a 4 door hatch awd would be nice..

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper