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Mention ‘Toyota’ and the mind conjures images of Hilux bakkies in the Kalahari, or Quantum taxis driving where they should best not be.
But the Japanese car company has a huge portfolio of products. And one of those is a lightweight sportscar, designed to thrill true driving enthusiasts.
The car in question, is the Toyota 86. Originally launched in 2012, the 86 offers a very purist driving experience. It weighs very little and has a very low centre of gravity, which makes for excellent cornering agility.
One aspect which has always disappointed followers of Toyota is the 86’s 2-litre engine. Without the benefit of turbocharging, it can feel quite asthmatic at inland motoring altitude, especially Gauteng.
Toyota has now addressed this powertrain issue, with a significant update of the 86. This new version has slightly smoothed over styling, making it look a touch more elegant. But the most meaningful updates are under its bonnet.
Engineers have increased the flat-four engine’s capacity from 2 to 2.4-litres. The result is a generous increase in peak power, up from 147- to 173kW, whilst its torque rating improves from 205- to 250Nm.
Toyota claims that its new 86 is 1.1 seconds quicker from 0-100kph, covering the acceleration benchmark in only 6.3 seconds.
Despite the larger engine, engineers have managed to contain any ballooning of the 86’s overall mass to only 4kg, with the new version weighing 1270kg.
The new engine will surely appeal to those who held the 86’s driving dynamics in high esteem but felt that it could do with a bit more throttle response.
Toyota will continue to offer two six-speed transmission options, in manual and automatic.
Feature image: Toyota