The Toyota 86 is a sports car developed jointly by Japanese automobile manufacturers Toyota and Subaru. It has 2+2 seats, a 2-door coupé body style and a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout.
The model will be sold under three different brands: Toyota (Toyota 86 in Japan and Australia and Toyota GT-86 in Europe), Subaru (Subaru BRZ) and Scion (Scion FR-S).
"86" (pronounced "eight-six" or Hachi-Roku (ハチロク)) refers to the Toyota Corolla Levin series AE86 and the Toyota Sprinter Trueno series AE86, a particular series of cars sold between 1983 and 1987 (both the Levin and Trueno were available in coupe and hatchback bodystyles).
As such, the Toyota 86 has been named as the spiritual successor of the original AE86 during the press release of the 86. The use of a boxer-style engine also refers to a historical Toyota sports car, called the Toyota Sports 800, Toyota's first sports car. Heritage of the Toyota 86 can also be traced back to the Toyota 2000GT, Toyota's second front engine, rear-drive sports car with a 2.0 liter engine.
The significance of the reference to the series AE86 was that both the Trueno and Levin of this series were the last with rear wheel drive; the following Sprinter Trueno and Corolla Levin series AE92 were released with front wheel drive thereafter.
The previous Corolla Levin and Sprinter Trueno were performance enhanced trim packages of the Corolla and Sprinter for each generation of the Levin and Trueno; the current platform is unique and not related to the current Corolla or variants.
Tested: 1,998cc horizontally-opposed, four-cylinder petrol engine with port and direct fuel injection, double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Six-speed manual transmission, with optional six-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive.
Power/torque: 197bhp @ 7,000rpm/151lb ft @ 6,600rpm
Top speed: 149mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in about 7.0sec
Fuel economy: above 40mpg
CO2 emissions: N/A
VED band: N/A
Verdict: Utterly entrancing old-school sports coupé that brings the fun back to driving