2016 Toyota 86 Facelift Japan 26

The 2016 Toyota Technology Media Event for Asian markets might have centred around the company’s safety initiatives and environmental efforts, but the world’s number one carmaker – led by car enthusiast Akio Toyoda – has of late acquired a sporty spirit.

“Fun to drive” has been a catchword over the past few years, and no other model in the range embodies that line better than the Toyota 86. The facelifted hachi-roku went on sale domestically in July after it first surfaced at the New York International Auto Show in March, and a red unit sat proudly at the entrance of the Toyota Kaikan showcase in Toyota City. We obliged.

The RWD coupe looks familiar, but is thoroughly revised, claims its maker. “We overhauled everything – primarily as a result of technological feedback from the 86’s participation in the 24 Hours of Nurburgring – and repeatedly tested the vehicle on roads all over the world as we manufactured every single part,” said chief engineer Tetsuya Tada.

“The new 86 has been perfected to such an extent that, from the moment the steering wheel is gripped and the vehicle accelerates away, every driver will be able to recognize its evolution,” the CE added.

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The 86 gets a heavily revised front bumper with a lower nose, a wider grille opening and fins on the new fog light bezels. Full-LED headlights are standard-fit on all models – integrating LED indicators that were previously found on the bumper – while LED fog lights can be found on GT and GT Limited trim levels.

On the profile, the faux vents on the wings have been redesigned, with the new 86 badge (boxer piston motif is gone) moved lower down the fender. Also included are new 17-inch machine-finish alloys, new LED tail lights and a revised rear bumper with a wider diffuser insert. You’d also have noticed the new wing, also seen on the refreshed Subaru BRZ.

Inside, the new steering wheel is the most obvious change, with buttons on the GT and GT Limited. Also only available on the top two trim levels is a revised instrument cluster with a 4.2-inch display that shows G force, power/torque curves and a stopwatch, among other info. The tacho has also been reconfigured so that the very top of the meter says 7,000 rpm – where the engine produces max power.

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Elsewhere, GT and GT Limited cars gain carbon print trim on the power window switch surrounds and AC panel, while the GT Limited – as seen here – gets “Grand Luxe” suede-like trim on the dashboard and door cards, plus Alcantara on the seats.

Under the curvy hood, the 2.0 litre boxer engine gets revisions to the intake and exhaust system, which bring an extra seven PS and seven Nm for 207 PS at 7,000 rpm and 212 Nm of torque between 6,400 and 6,800 rpm. That’s for the six-speed manual cars; the 6AT variant soldiers on with the same figures.

To increase rigidity, the number of spot welding points on the rear pillars have been increased – in concert with the revised springs and dampers, this provides increased steering response and ride comfort, which can be improved further by opting for the optional Sachs dampers.

GALLERY: Toyota 86 GT Limited facelift at Toyota Kaikan

GALLERY: Toyota 86 facelift official images