2017 Toyota GT86:continues to set benchmark for mid-range speedsters

The 2017 Toyota GT86 has been announced with significant changes inside and out. The updates are deemed necessary since the GT86 came out in 2012.

In looks, the all too familiar GT86 has been gifted more elements to boost its maturity and elicit an even stronger sporting look. At the front, there’s a wider, low-set grille, a pronounced lower lip to the front bumper with integrated fins and a lowering of the tip of the car’s nose. This refreshed head-on-view amplifies the car’s ground-hugging stance and agile performance.

Aerodynamic detailing extends to a subtle new nose fin and new LED fog light surrounds with a triple-strake design that is both aerodynamically efficient and striking in appearance. The headlight units have been restyled to create a stronger horizontal emphasis, with new bi-LED lights for full and high beam. The turn indicators have been relocated from the far edges of the front bumper to within the headlight clusters, arranged as a line of individual orange LEDs beneath an angled series of white daytime running light LEDs. The result is to generate a stronger horizontal axis across the front of the vehicle, emphasizing its width and maturity of design.

The GT86 retains its distinctive coupe silhouette, complete with “pagoda” roof design, low center of gravity and door apertures that evoke the look of the two-seater 2000GT, successfully applied to a compact 2+2 format. The vehicle retains its 4,240mm overall length, 1,320mm height (with shark fin antenna), 1,775mm width and 2,570mm wheelbase.

In profile view, the areas forward of the front wheels and aft of the rear wheels have been shaped to generate a stronger sense of sporting performance. The wing garnish has a new integrated fin that contributes to controlling body roll.

From the rear, new features of the GT86 follow the pattern of those at the front in generating a lower-stronger look, led by a wider and deeper black moulding and diffuser unit that creates a strong trapezoidal shape and extends low enough to conceal the exhaust silencer. The new wing-type rear spoiler replaces the previous integrated component design, projecting a sportier look as well as contributing to the GT86’s improved aerodynamics. In addition, the rear LED light clusters have been reworked, generating a stronger horizontal line and using light guides to produce a distinctive lighting signature and featuring new LED turn indicators.

Lastly, a new 17-inch cast alloy wheel design has been produced for the GT86, featuring 10 ultra-slim spokes with a contrast bright and gun metal grey machine finish to provide an agile and strongly defined 3D appearance.

Changes made to the GT86’s cabin serve to emphasize the car’s genuine sporting quality while raising the functionality and the visual and tactile quality of the interior. Particular attention has been paid to the size and shape of the steering wheel to provide the best grip and action for the driver. Retaining the sporty three-spoke design, Toyota has reduced the diameter by 3mm to just 362mm, making it the smallest it has yet featured on a Toyota production car. The wheel’s weight has also been reduced by 10 per cent.

More emphasis has been added to the look of the wheel with sculpted, metal-effect spokes and a prominent, silvered 86 logo on the center boss. The new wheel also incorporates switches to adjust the new 4.2-inch color TFT multi-function display and audio system. The driver’s instrument display has been revised with a new triple-dial arrangement that includes a new 4.2-inch color TFT multi-information read-out, providing real-time data that can be called up and adjusted with ease using the new control switches on the steering. The multi-information display presents the 86 logo each time the car is started and also provides driver alerts, including door ajar and low coolant warnings. Moreover, the tachometer has been reoriented so that 7,000rpm, the engine speed at which peak power is delivered, now sits at the top of the dial.

Moving on to the center console, a new 6.1-inch touchscreen display has been introduced to provide quick and easy operation of the audio system, which now includes optional DAB digital reception. The GT86 is available with the latest iteration of the Toyota Touch 2 with Go multimedia and satellite navigation system, also accessed via the touchscreen. It comes with a more intuitive user interface plus three years’ free map update and access to connected services.

As for the cabin and upholstery, the 2017 GT86 has a new, unified “all black” interior finish that not only adds to the sports car feel of the interior, but also reduces reflection of outside light so there is less distraction and a clear view for the driver.

A new carbon-fiber mesh pattern trim has been added to the door switch panels and the ventilation control panel on the center console. Buckskin pattern upholstery is available for the instrument binnacle hood, matching a new upholstery choice that combines leather with perforated Alcantara seat facings, available in all-black, or black with red leather detailing on the edge of the seatback and cushion bolsters. The latter option also introduces matching red trims on the door panel armrests.

The 2017 GT86’s powertrain is unchanged, retaining its unique format of a high-revving, naturally aspirated 2.0-liter, horizontally opposed “boxer” engine driving the rear wheels. Toyota added its D-4S direct fuel injection technology to the Subaru-sourced engine, securing increased throttle response, power and torque over a wide range of engine speeds.

Driving the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, the 1,998cc 16-valve DOHC unit produces a maximum 200 hp/147kW at 7,000rpm and 205Nm of torque between 6,400 and 6,600rpm. Zero to 100km/h acceleration can be achieved in 7.6 seconds with manual transmission, 8.2 seconds for the automatic.

Under the skin there have been detailed adjustments to the suspension and damping, targeting improvements in handling, stability and ride comfort, and measures have been introduced to increase body rigidity. One of the most significant developments in the 2017 GT86 from a driver’s point of view is a new Track mode, giving them the opportunity to enjoy performance driving with minimum intervention of electronic Vehicle Stability Control and traction control systems.

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