A sportier Toyota 86 tweaked by Toyota Racing Development (TRD) will race into local showrooms later this year, three years after the compact coupe arrived.
The big-T brand tickled enthusiasts’ interest at the 86 Festival of Speed late last year with a TRD-tweaked show car painted white with black wheels, a bodykit and partial red interior, keeping further details quiet but hinting at a possible limited edition.
A Toyota dealership has now exclusively confirmed to MOTOR that a TRD 86 is on the way before year’s end, with one or two units of the limited edition going to each dealership in the country – meaning a run of between 200 and 500 units.
The dealer said to expect a circa-$50,000 price tag for the limited edition, which indicates it will be more than just a sticker-pack model. Speaking of which, while there may be TRD badging on the car, the 86 limited edition is expected to get its own name in the same way the HiLux Black Edition did.
There won’t be a turbocharger boosting the 2.0-litre horizontally opposed boxer four-cylinder engine, though, possibly because global chief engineer Tetsuya Tada is philosophically opposed to a ‘more is more’ approach.
Tada-san was in Australia for the 86 Festival of Speed last November, while his boss and the man who signed off on the 86 program, Toyota president Akio Toyoda, at the same time participated in a 72-hour tuning project Down Under.
Rather than adding power, a racier suspension set-up is likely along with potential exhaust and intake modifications. It is no secret that Tada-san has continued to play around with the 86 chassis since the model first went on sale and he believes in the car’s motorsport potential.
Toyota also knows the car has a loyal following and those first-time buyers may be looking to trade up soon and want a fresh hachi roku hit. This country may rank third in the world for 86 sales – behind Japan and the US – but sales are down 25 per cent to June this year.
Back in 2012 it was all about that $29,990 price tag for the simple concept of a rear-wheel drive small sports car we hadn’t seen in years. In 2015 and with no mid-life facelift on the horizon, TRD performance parts are clearly being thrown in to keep 86 sales ticking.