TOYOTA 86: The revival of the affordable purist sports carBy Botchi Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Tothe casual observer, the 86 looks to have a lot in common with typical sports cars and performance cars coming out of Japan, making performance relatively easy to access, with the cars of today more comfortable to drive.
But in reality, the 86 has less in common with these cars, and is more in keeping with the lightweight sports car of Europe. Here are some reasons why:
Suspension: The suspension is perfectly done. There is a firmness and sense of control that brings about security, safety and confidence to tackle the most challenging of roads and race tracks. Out of the box, it feels ready to tackle the Nurburgring.
Steering: The steering feel is heavy, perhaps an inconvenience to enthusiasts long used to overly-light and overly-assisted systems. But the electronically assisted power steering is very accurate, sensitive and inspires confidence as well, matching the suspension’s feel and heft. And yet it never feels nervous at high speed.
Brakes: Nothing from Japan that has ever reached our shores is as progressive, feelsome and easy to modulate as the 86’s brakes. It’s strong indeed, but more importantly, you can really step hard on the brakes, bringing it to the threshold of lock-up and triggering the excellent ABS-EBD with Brake-Assist System, without actually triggering it. This is the kind of brakes all cars should be endowed with.
Engine: The engine is a 2.0-liter 4-cam 16-valve boxer engine from Subaru code-named FA20 but with direct-injection supplied by Toyota, providing an evenly spread-out 200 ps and 205 Newton meters of torque. There are some valleys and troughs between 4,500 to 6,000 rpm but the engine feels very flexible. This progressive feeling engine makes controlling the car easier on the limit, and has a very satisfying mechanical sound and feral induction note that increases your smile as the revs climb up higher all the way to the 7,500 rpm redline. AT low speeds from idle, the FA20 is surprisingly tractable and easy to utilize.
Gearchange mechanism: The transmission is an Aisin unit previously used in Toyota’s Altezza RS200 sports sedan from over a decade ago, but comes mated with Subaru’s STI gearshift mechanism, giving the overall drivetrain a mechanical, almost race car-like feel. Every gear change is accompanied by a mild shunt from the transmission, which makes the car twitch. It sounds quite brutal but is very satisfying when you’re driving it really hard. Skip the automatic, go for the manual.
Interior: It has excellent driving position unheard of in a Toyota, with buttons clearly laid out. It invites you to take some liberties driving the 86 as the seats are supportive and the controls, tactile. It’s also excellently made and feels really solid with a good amount of high-quality plastics.
The 86 is an easy fast drive. You have to work hard to get it to go fast, but the process of doing so is very satisfying. And despite its modest power, it requires skill, practice and a lot of respect as the rear-end can swing out when the roads are less than baby-bottom smooth. The 86 feels pure, very linear, very progressive, and very fun to drive.
Short URL: http://business.inquirer.net/?p=66037