Australia’s most popular sports car, the Toyota 86, has been refreshed with revised styling and modified mechanical set-up.
There are few surprises for the model that goes on sale in the last quarter of 2016, as the changes mimic virtually all of those previously seen on the updated version of its near-identical twin: the Subaru BRZ.
Externally, a more aggressive front bumper created by a bigger mesh grille, more upright foglight housings, and sharp-looking, integrated aero fins gives the 86 one of its biggest point of styling difference over the BRZ.
Toyota says the 86 will also wear new 17-inch alloy wheels with twisted spokes, though it’s not clear whether this would be for the standard car or the higher-spec GTS.
Otherwise, the new-look 86 features the same all-LED headlights, faux side gills, and colour-tweaked tail-lights now also incorporating LEDs.
Toyota’s official images are of what would be the GTS model, featuring a rear spoiler.
Inside, a sportier steering wheel is the smallest in the Toyota line-up, while the more expensive Toyota 86 GTS – if Toyota Australia continues with a two-trim-grade line-up – features a 4.2-inch graphic display in the instrument cluster that includes G-force meter and stopwatch.
The same 6.2-inch colour touchscreen to be offered in the BRZ would also be expected for the GTS, though the only full cabin image provided by Toyota is of a base model with a large blank section where the new infotainment display would be fitted.
A suede-like trim dubbed Grand Luxe for the instrument panel and doors will also be available to lift the interior’s quality.
The 2.0-litre ‘boxer’ four-cylinder is the same updated engine fitted to the BRZ with manual gearbox, with the 152kW and 212Nm power and torque outputs that are a 3.4 per cent increase.
Toyota says torque has been improved at lower revs, which would be a welcome tweak for an engine in need of better tractability.
An automatic gearbox offered in tandem with less engine power, but also paddleshift levers, can again be expected to be offered.
Sharpened steering and the revised aerodynamics are said to raise the 86’s already impressive handling abilities even higher, while tweaked suspension and extra spot welds for the rear pillars target improved ride comfort.
Toyota Australia has sold more than 17,000 86s in its three full years on sale since its 2012 launch, making this country the sports car’s third-largest market.