Toyota is in the midst of a performance-focused resurgence, and it has nothing to do with adding horsepower, which is a good thing. The 2019 Toyota 86 TRD Special is the newest class member to join Toyota’s school of thought. Though Toyota is finally building the car the 86 was always meant to be, it’s just a shame there will only be 1,418 examples up for grabs.
Since the Supra is on the way — in two flavors, one with a more powerful turbo straight-six and another with a turbo-four cylinder and both with a chassis co-developed with BMW — 86 is the clear little brother to both. But, at a hair over 200 horsepower to the four-cylinder Supra’s supposed 242 hp, there’s a gap that needs bridging — thankfully Toyota didn’t do it by adding horsepower and destroying what makes the 86 so special in the first place.
The 86 TRD Special gets Brembo Brakes, SACHS dampers, a TRD Body Kit, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 Tires at each corner and a TRD Exhaust, along with a special body kit and a few design detail changes. The 2.0-liter Boxer-four engine still puts out 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft. of torque (when paired with the manual), and in a car that weighs just under 2,800 lbs. All of that equals one outstanding corner-carver. The standard 86’s highlight is its ability to glide through a corner quickly but also balanced and under control. Toyota just turned up the saturation, tuned it and leaned on the ‘slow car fast‘ mentality. Getting remotely close to a sports car’s capability is one of the great joys of driving; adding more horsepower only makes that more difficult, especially for the average driver.
Sadly, just when Toyota gives us the near perfect 86 we all openly wanted, it goes and shorts the production numbers to 1,418 units. Hopefully, the next generation 86 will get some trickle-down R&D from the TRD Special. One thing is for sure though, this 2019 86 TRD Special, with all the chassis tuning, handling upgrades, add-ons and design details, you can bet this is a future collectible.
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