They say that from death comes life, and that sentiment can be used to describe the introduction of the first bona-fide sports car to the Toyota brand’s North American range in over a decade, the 86, born from the demise of the Scion FR-S.
Unveiled today at the New York Auto Show, the 2017 Toyota 86 is the reincarnation of what would have been the facelifted FR-S had Scion not been axed.
It borrows its name from the international model offered in Japan, Australia, South Africa and other countries, however, if you ask us, the European market moniker “GT 86” would have done just fine.
“The name 86 is shared globally, and is passed down from the car that inspires it, the Corolla GT-S, known by its true fans as the AE86 or “hachi-roku,” which means 8-6 in Japanese,” said Toyota boss Bill Fay during the car’s presentation in the Big Apple. “As you can see, the name isn’t the only thing that has changed. We’re investing in the 86 to make it better than ever, with styling updates, new wheels and more premium materials throughout.
And by that, Fay means the 86’s front end got a little bit busier than the FR-S – a pattern we’re seeing on other recent Toyota models too, like the Prius Prime, with a larger front grille, new LED headlamp fixtures and turn signals, and a reshaped bumper. The rear was refinished with LED tail lamps and a new bumper design, with the car also gaining a new set of alloy wheels.
Inside, Toyota says it added a new “Grandlux” soft-touch material on the instrument panel surround and the door trims, together with different upholstery for the seats with silver stitching and a new sports steering wheel with integrated audio controls, and in the automatic models, bigger paddle shifters.
Beneath the skin, the 86 benefits from a retuned suspension to improve handling, and in the case of the 6-speed manual gearbox model, a change in the differential ratio and a 5hp bump for the 2.0-lite flat four engine that now produces 205hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. The automatic model keeps the same 200hp engine as the 2016 FR-S.
The new Toyota 86 will go on sale in US and Canadian dealerships this fall, by which time, we should see its Subaru twin, the 2017 BRZ facelift, that was caught undisguised earlier this week sporting similar number of revisions.