Performance, ride and handling

The TRD Performance 86 is not all about show and no go. In addition to the upgarded exhaust system (LTA approved obviously), there are several ‘bolt on’ performance enhancing parts under the bonnet as well as go faster bits that enhance the 86’s overall handling. The exhaust system and stuff like the TRD sports air filter element should up the horsepower count by at least several but on paper, the 2-litre boxer lump’s output is still listed at 204bhp at 7,000rpm and a measely 205Nm at a peaky 6,400rpm to 6,600rpm.

Visible mods under the bonnet include a TRD carbon fibbre strut bar that is not only light but also strenthens the 86’s body shell even further, a TRD sports oil filter as well as TRD high pressure radiator and oil caps.

Like its Subaru BRZ cousin, the 86 is available with two six-speed transmission options – a manual as well as a torque converter automatic. The TRD Performance 86 we drove came with the latter, which is a tad of a mismatch as the auto is a lot less rewarding to drive and hence, less fun to drive than the manual. On paper, the manual transmission model will accelerate to 100km/h from rest in a reasonably urgent 7.6 seconds while the auto tested here will take a less sprightly 8.2 seconds for the same sprint.

When left in ‘D’ to its own devices, the gearbox has a habit of slurring its gear changes, which in turn dampens response. Things improve when ‘Sports’ mode for the transmission is selected as shift response becomes more immediate while the throttle sharpens. For the keener driver though, its best to drive the auto in manual mode where gears can manually be selected via steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.

On the road, the auto 86 suffers from a shortage of torque at low to medium speeds. the horizontally-opposed four needs at least 4500rpm before it starts to deliver some serious go. For the motor to deliver its maximum potential, it needs to be revved all the way to its 7,500rpm redline to fully exploit its performance. The TRD mods feel like they give the flat-four a tad more mid-range and top end power than the standard car’s lump, which is hugely expected as the exhaust and air filter are meant to help the motor breath better in addiition to giving it a sportier sound overall. The overall sondtrack is sporty enough but the hugely audible induction roar can become quite a tiring drone on long drives.

Obviously, the 86’s raison d’etre is its rear-wheel drive layout that ought to endow it with pure, unadultered fun. Other factors that should contribute to the 86’s dynamic cause include a low centre of gravity with most of its mass placed close to the ground, optimised weight distribution  as well as a low kerb weight.

With enhancements like TRD sports suspension with a new set of recalibrated coli springs and dampers as well as the strut bar underneath the bonnet, the TRD Performance 86 takes to corners even flatter than the standard car. It is wonderfully agile in the corners and quick to swap directions while the steering is accurate, pin sharp and responsive to the driver’s inputs, making it wonderfully enjoyable and rewarding to drive enthusiastically in. In addition, the GS model also comes with a Limited Slip Differential (LSD) that ought to improve the 86’s stance and traction in the corners even further.

The TRD Performance model also comes with a big brake kit that consists of bigger discs, upgraded brake pads as well as red six-pot calipers up front (four-pot at the rear) that lurk behind the 18-inch alloy wheels. With a kerb weight of just under 1,300kg, there’s not a lot of weight for the powerful brakes to haul down so they are hardly necessary for fast road use. We’d advise you to upgrade the 86’s brakes only if you’re a regular trackie.

The stiffer TRD suspension inevitably equates to a significantly bumpier and busier ride overall for the 86. The ride can be overtly bumpy over imperfect tarmac that can result in a tiring and draining car to drive over long periods.

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Engine Capacity 1998cc
Engine Type Flat 4
Power 200bhp @ 7000rpm
Torque 205Nm @ 6400rpm
Power to Weight 200000 bhp per ton


Acceleration 8.2s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 210 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.3 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF


Body Type Coupe
(L x W x H)
(4,240 x 1,775 x 1,285) mm
Wheelbase 2,570 mm
Turning Circle 5.4 metres
Kerb Weight 1,298 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 50 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs