There was a small part of us that believed this year would be different. That the Toyota 86, a car which thrills without especially thrilling numbers, might finish somewhere decent at an event decided almost solely by them.
This track review was carried out in conjunction with MOTOR's Bang For Your Bucks 2018
See those red things peering from behind those new design 17-inch wheels? They’re four-piston Brembos that chomp at decent-sized discs, accompanied by dampers from German suspension gurus, Sachs. After furiously tweaking the 86 and BRZ for 2017, we hoped these additions would fit as the final piece in the puzzle for Toyota, and quantify the smiles an 86 convincingly delivers behind the wheel.
But the wider stream of fast cars moves rapidly. And the fact remains until Toyota delivers serious grip, or grunt, the 86 is going to keep sinking through the rankings until it thuds into last. Because even with new gifts, this optional pack is held back by its carried over Michelin Primacys.
Okay, so they bode an advantage when you’re trying to launch a peaky 152kW 2.0-litre boxer on a sticky strip, giving the 86 just enough wheelspin to arrive at both 100km/h and 400m sooner than its sticky-footed BRZ twin. But everywhere else, they seemed to be the denominator of slow times.
The 86 overtook only the Suzuki Swift Sport and Skoda Octavia on track, while its braking distances would ward people away from eco-orientated rubber – there was 6.62m separating the 86 and the Subaru BRZ tS. You could broadside drift a Kia Stinger through that distance.
The 86’s average cornering speed is more telling of the car’s true talents, moving up from 13th in lap times to 10th here. It’ll be fairly annoying having to move aside so regularly at track days, but you won’t care once you hit a bit of clear track. The tyres actually enrich the experience, moving the 86 around like its rear wheels are coated in WD-40.
MOTOR comparison: 86 Performance Pack v BRZ tS v MX-5 RF Limited Edition
When ABS is called into action, the 86 shimmies in braking zones like a seal with an itchy belly. Yet, it never feels intimidating. And while those Brembos don’t help pull you up shorter, they’re undefeatable under a car weighing only 1258kg.
Its balance, point, control weightings, and seats remain untouched and brilliant. You will be pleased to know that the Sachs dampers have improved the car’s ride considerably, too. But the improvements weren’t enough to enamour the majority of judges, who found the package was overshadowed by our other standouts.
Most tellingly for this 86 is the new wheels, brakes, and dampers add $2200 (or $2900 to a GT), meaning the only number significantly changed is its price. And that’s no way to win at this game.
Price, performance, pace on Bang For Your Bucks 2018
Toyota 86 GTS Performance Pack BFYB 2018 Results - 14th place
0-100km/h: 7.25sec (13th)
0-400m: 15.19sec @ 152.79km/h (13th)
Lap Time: 1:42.80sec (13th)
Bang Index: 71.6
Bucks Index: 127.5
BFYB Index: 96.7
Warren Luff - 7th
“It’s an MX-5 with a roof. With this particular 86 you can use the back of the car to help point the nose in to try and eliminate some of the understeer. So it’s a very playful thing to drive and you know that it’s not going to bite you. It gives a lot of feedback and it’s very progressive in everything that it does. Yes, it doesn’t have the grip that a lot of the other cars here do, but it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a fun and playful package.”
David Morley - 7th
“Still works for me in every way”
Dylan Campbell - 4th
“How fun are these cars! Tyres unpredictable – exciting”
Scott Newman - 6th
“Hilarious fun and the driver will wear out before the car does”
Louis Cordony - 2nd
“Gutless, but who cares. I could drive this thing all day long”
2018 Toyota 86 GTS Performance Pack
BODY: 2-door, 4-seat coupe
ENGINE: 1998cc boxer-4, DOHC, 16v
BORE/STROKE: 86.0mm x 86.0mm
COMPRESSION RATIO: 12.5:1
POWER: 152kW @ 7000rpm
TORQUE: 212Nm @ 6400-6800rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
SUSPENSION: struts, coil springs, dampers, anti-roll bar (f); A-arms, coil springs, dampers, anti-roll bar (r)
BRAKES: 326mm ventilated discs, 4-piston calipers (f); 316mm ventilated discs, 2-piston calipers (r)
WHEELS: 17.0 x 8.0-inch (f/r)
TYRES: Michelin Primacy HP 215/45 R17 87W (f/r)
Bang For Your Bucks 2018
The Contenders, Judges & Criteria
15 of the hottest new fast cars under $100K roll up to take on our famous formula. Which will be number 1?