A Specialer Special Edition: Toyota 86 to Add GT Variant for 2018

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
a specialer special edition toyota 86 to add gt variant for 2018

The Toyota 86 and its Subaru BRZ twin don’t get a lot of respect in a world where Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge offer horsepower levels nearing infinity, but we’ll probably miss them when they’re gone. Rear-drive two-doors on the low end of the price scale are a very rare breed these days.

After last year’s Special Edition 86, Toyota’s uncharacteristically youthful sporting model undergoes further changes for 2018, this time offering up a GT variant that sounds fearful, but is actually anything but.

That’s because in this application, “GT” doesn’t mean the addition of more grunt. It’s all about creature comforts. According to a dealer order guide seen by Cars Direct, we now know the 2018 Toyota 86 GT maintains the status quo with respect to its powertrain, while adding features found on its slightly more upscale twin.

A good number of features also carry over from 2017’s Special Edition.

Moving up from a stock 86 to the GT brings heated leather seats and steering wheel, as well as a leather-wrapped parking brake handle and audio controls that migrate to the wheel. Dual-zone climate control, pushbutton start with proximity key, an anti-theft system, and a 4.2-inch performance specs display rounds out the new tech. Outside, new LED foglights and some sort of front-end aero enhancement sets the GT apart from its lesser sibling. There’s also some minor color accents to choose from.

Pricing for the 2018 86 GT starts at $29,280 after delivery, with an extra $720 needed to move from a six-speed manual to a six-speed automatic transmission. Doing so, of course, drops the 86’s output from 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque to 200 hp and 151 lb-ft. (Toyota hasn’t released 2018 pricing, but a base 2017 model starts at $27,150 after delivery.)

While the new GT variant might tempt buyers who would otherwise have chosen a BRZ Limited, its lack of extra power isn’t likely to see sports car aficionados suddenly talking about (and considering) the 86. The model’s U.S. sales have fallen each year since 2013, its first full year on the market. November’s sales, which amounted to 456 units in the U.S., fell 11.1 percent, year-over-year. Over the first 11 months of 2017, Toyota 86 sales are down 6.9 percent.

[Image: Toyota]

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  • JMII JMII on Dec 18, 2017

    I've driven one around a track and while they are toss-able and fun you don't get the thrill of being pushed back into your seat. The main problem for me was the lack of torque. The tach moves but the car just kind of continues forward as if the numbers have no meaning. While some people like ultra smooth acceleration to me it felt like everything was happening in slow motion. My 350Z isn't "fast" especially compared to other pony cars but it at least feels like its trying due to having some grunt from the V6. I will give the FRS the advantage of being ridiculously easy to drive beyond 7/10ths. The steering and braking effort is super light compared to my Z. You could literally drive the FRS on track all day and not break a sweat as it feels like you could control it with just one hand. In the end I find my Z more rewarding on track because it feels like your doing something, the FRS was actually too easy - thus it never felt like I was driving "hard" even while pushing it. I understand the appeal... but I don't think I would own one as boredom would set in rather quickly. Basically its like a Miata but with a roof. I'm glad Toyota makes it, but I'll never understand why they didn't fit the trademark Subbie turbo under the hood. Just seems like a missed opportunity to have WRX power in a nicely balanced (and attractively styled) RWD package. Also never understood why it wasn't a hatchback either as a throwback to the older Toyota's (namesake 86, Celica & Supra).

  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Dec 18, 2017

    "Rear-drive two-doors on the low end of the price scale are a very rare breed these days." Bullshit. Ford, Chevy, and Dodge all over rear drive two-doors for the same or less as the twins - with fantastic handling of their own (at least from Chevy and Ford) and LOTS more power (even if it is partially offset by extra weight). These cars, while delightful to drive, are not a value. Disclaimer - I owned an FR-S. It was great, but I wouldn't buy another one with the turbo-4 Mustang/Camaro sport suspension options out there.

  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
  • AMcA The '70 Continentals and Town Cars may have been cousins to the standard body Fords and Mercurys, they didn't have to be disguised, because they had unique, unbelievably huge bodies of their own. Looking at the new 1970 interior, I'd say it was also a cost savings in sewing the seat. Button tufted panels like the 1969 interior had require a lot of sewing and tufting work. The 1970 interior is mostly surface sewing on a single sheet of upholstery instead of laboriously assembled smaller pieces. FINALLY: do I remember correctly that the shag carpet shown under these cars was a Photoshop? They didn't really go so peak '70s as to photograph cars on shag carpets, did they?
  • Inside Looking Out Toyota makes mass market cars. Their statement means that EVs are not mass market yet. But then Tesla managed to make mass market car - Mode; 3. Where I live in CA there are more Tesla Model 3s on streets than Corollas.
  • Ltcmgm78 A lot of dirt must turn before there's an EV in every driveway. There must be a national infrastructure plan written by other than politicians chasing votes. There must be reliable batteries that hopefully aren't sourced from strategic rivals. There must be a way to charge a lot of EVs. Toyota is wisely holding their water. There is a danger in urging unplanned and hasty moves away from ICE vehicles. Do we want to listen to unending speeches every election cycle that we are closer than we have ever been to 100% electrification and that voting for certain folks will make it happen faster? Picture every car in your town suddenly becoming all electric and a third of them need a charge or the driver will be late for work. This will take a lot of time and money.
  • Kendahl One thing I've learned is that cars I buy for local errands tend to be taken on 1,000 mile trips, too. We have a 5-speed Focus SE that has gone on longer trips than I ever expected. It has served us well although, if I had it to do over again, I would have bought an ST. At the time of purchase, we didn't plan to move from 1,000 feet elevation to 6,500. The SE is still adequate but the ST's turbo and extra power would have been welcome.