By on December 16, 2017

2017 Toyota 86 front - Image: Toyota

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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26 Comments on “A Specialer Special Edition: Toyota 86 to Add GT Variant for 2018...”

  • avatar

    Just like the Celicas before it, “GT” is just a trim package, not a performance package.

  • avatar

    Compared to my first sportscar, a 1959 Sprite, these things are hp monsters. Learn to drive them and tell me they don’t a smile on your face. Just stay away from the drag strip.

  • avatar

    The one Toyota (brand) I’d seriously consider, now that the FJ Cruiser is no more.

    Build the FT-4X (correctly) and then there will be two.

  • avatar

    “Miss them when they’re gone”? Really???? This forum was one of the most outspoken critics of these cars when they came out and now you’re gonna miss them?

  • avatar

    Cooool, Toyota aped more of the Subaru options for their variant.

    I don’t understand why the BRZ/FR-S/86 get compared to the Mustang and such like in this post. It’s a lightweight, nimble car. It’s halfway between the size of an MX-5 and a Genesis coupe.

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    Ho Hum. I really liked the Scion FRS, Toyota 86/BRZ when it first came out. It was a reasonably priced sports car that had a lot of potential and handled well for what it was. The part where Toyota went wrong was in trying to ‘save’ Scion. (Yet another example of set pricing didn’t go as well as planned, since people want to haggle and think they can get a better deal.) Toyota should have released this as the ’86 in the States, like they did elsewhere and sales are a lot higher in those locations, mainly due to the heritage etc. They should also make it a little,… lot more powerful and at least add a freakin’ turbo or supercharger. It’s like a lot of super hot girls I know that aren’t as good in the sack as say a girl with a little meat on her bones, who knows she has to do something a little extra in order to keep her man. You can dress up the ’86/BRZ as much as you want to and add all sorts of unnecessary buttons and gadgets to the interior and a new color on the outside, but if you’re not going to make it perform any better, then to me, it is a waste of money better spent on other, maybe less sexy cars out there like the, dare I say, Mitsubishi Lancer (or even more exciting Evo for a few dollars more) or the 2018 Civic Si Coupe.

    As much as I love the Toyota vehicles, I am not too excited at their lack of excitement towards performance vehicles since the ’90’s, when the Supra was axed, and nothing was sent to replace it. Even now, they are reluctant to release the FT-1(insert name here).

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    I guess that the most ignored fact is that GT stands for Grand Tourer, or Grand Tourismo and is supposed to be a performance based, long distance comfort riding/diving coup. I don’t ever remember the FRS/BRZ being comfortable enough to drive on a long distance ride. I’ve been in a lot of them as a Toyota/Scion salesman. Fun to drive? Sure, for about a month, until you are beat by most everything else out there.

    This car needs more power…

  • avatar

    If it needs it, there are loads of aftermarket FI kits available. Yet i somehow don’t see people lining up after them. What probably one may think – that it needs that more power as stock while keeping current price? I don’t think it’s possible.
    Having this car for already three years i’m still happy owner enjoying it as is. On track more often i see opposite to be “beat by most everything else out there”, lapping faster then many powerful .. heavy porkers, that also are priced much higher.

  • avatar
    Akiva Shapero

    It’s a shame.I have the ’17 BRZ with performance pack and it rocks. If it had more Horsepower, I would probably wrap it around a tree.

  • avatar

    “… its lack of extra power isn’t likely to see sports car aficionados suddenly talking about (and considering) the 86.”

    It’s semantics and maybe just me, but I’ve never associated the term “sports car” with huge gobs of horsepower. IMO, the 86 is actually a classic “sports car”, ie., skewed towards handling over HP. I’m thinking a guy with a scarf fluttering in the wind, carving corners, trying to squeeze speed out of a car with technique more than merely slamming down the old right foot.

    There is some overlap among “sports car”, “muscle car” and “supercar”/”exotic”, etc.. The Corvette, for example, depending on the particular year and model has during its history been all three. But associating high HP with “sports car” is not entirely historically accurate, IMO.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I don’t waste my time trying to convince people who think this car is underpowered. The concept of “less is more” simply makes no sense to them. As with many things that can’t be reduced to metrics, those who know cannot explain. Those who don’t know, cannot understand.

    • 0 avatar

      Let me guess – when this thing becomes a one-gen wonder its because it was too good for everyone and the only ones who know better are those who demanded and screamed for this car over the internet and vowed on their mother’s basement they would totally buy one used off Craigslist in 2024.

      • 0 avatar

        Every now and then I scan Craigslist and find the 944’s from my youth that I thought were almost almost affordable for Porsche’s, and which are dirt cheap now. Then I remind myself that a BRZ is basically the modern equivalent, easily available and much more reliable to run… Then I stop thinking about it because I’ve reach the stage in life were there are other sensible things to do first other than by a 2nd car just for the fun of it.

  • avatar

    Last year I toyed with the notion of selling my Cayman and getting a slightly more practical hatch that could at least in some instances carry our 2 small kids. I was hoping to recreate the experience on my old Mazda Protege 5…a somewhat underpowered, but infinitely fun and tossable car in the city.

    I tried a GTI, a 500 Abarth, a Fiesta ST, and finally, an FRS. The other 3 were all fine cars in may ways, but they just left me a little wanting. Neither really stirred up the soul. The only one that put a smile on my face was the FRS. It was simple, sounded better than it should, and felt like it was designed for those of us who still prefer our experience to be more analog than digital. I have no idea how fast it went (probably not very), but I had fun doing it. It did remind me of the best qualities of my Mazda, and in some ways, the Cayman too.

    For unrelated reasons, I didn’t buy any of them (or any car for that matter), but I’d like to revisit the 86 one day…especially now that its a Toyota and not a Scion. Hopefully Toyota will still offer something like it when I do.

  • avatar

    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).

  • avatar

    “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.

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