Toyota 86 2.0 S, Toyota 86 2.0 GS (M) Review
Automatic choice

Story and photos by Raymond Lai
6 Oct 2012

A fun and dynamic car like the Toyota 86 needs to be driven with a manual gearbox, reckons Raymond Lai

Introduction, styling

If you are a car nut and happens to love manga or anime, you’ll definitely know Initial D from the late 1990s and early 2000s. First started off as a comic book series, Initial D focuses on the world of illegal Japanese street racing and drifting. The main character, Takumi drives a Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX, better known as the AE86 or Hachiroku in Japanese. The black and white AE86, with the name of Takumi’s family run tofu shop on the driver’s door went on to become the icon of Initial D.

The AE86’s popularity, a model that was last sold way back in 1987, was suddenly revived and it became a cool car once again. It was especially popular in the world of motorsports thanks to its simple concept of a lightweight rear-wheel drive chassis. Without any spritual successor to the AE86 within Toyota’s line-up, the car maker simply couldn’t ride on the Hachiroku’s iconic status and popularty for its maeketing. It wasn’t till 2009 that Toyota finally showed intentions in reviving the spirit and concept of the AE86 for a new compact sports coupe with the FT-86 concept. The use of the ‘86’ moniker for the concept got driving enthusiasts all over the world really excited indeed.

Three years on and the production model of th FT-86 and spritual successor to the AE86 is finally a reality. Dubbed simply as the Toyota 86 in Japan as well as over here in Singapore, it is also known as the GT86 in Europe and the Scion FR-S. in the US. As the 86 was jointly developed with Subaru, the latter also offers a similar version in its line-up with the BRZ.  

In Singapore, the 86 is available in two specification levels – the base S and the approximately $13,000 more higher spec GS. On the outside, the GS looks similar to the Subaru BRZ we’ve previously tested bar the shape of the intakes on the front bumper, the badges on the nose and the boot lid and the design of the front wing vents with the Toyota’s featuring the superb looking ‘86’ emblem that is inspired by the profile of a boxer engine.

At just 1,300mm in height, the 86 features a low slung silehouette that is typical of classic sports coupes. The design and the placement of the boxer engine allows for a very low, purposeful bonnet line, which in turn accentuates the wide front fenders. IN GS trim, the 86 loks purposeful enough overall thanks to the standard 17-inch wheels.

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