Toyota and Subaru won the hearts of many drivers with their pure-handling, well-priced BRZ and GT 86 coupes in 2012. But there's always been one thing holding Toyota's offering back from reasonably-priced perfection – a lack of power. The automaker has addressed this with a mild update to the formula which includes a small power and torque bump, along with some revisions to the car's styling.
The most significant tweak to the GT 86 formula comes under the hood, where the car's boxer engine is producing 153 kW (205 hp) and 214 Nm (158 lb-ft) of torque. That's only a mild, 4 kW (5 hp) and 9 Nm (6.6 lb-ft) boost, but should give the car a bit more zip from low revs and, hopefully, improve the 86's slightly flat midrange.
Although there wasn't much wrong with the original "Toyobaru's" handing, the new GT 86 will feature revised shock absorber and damper rates.
From the outside, the changes to the 86 are mostly centered around the front end. With a larger grille, redesigned LED headlamps and new-look fog lamps, Toyota's design team has worked to make its sports car look lower and wider on the road. The changes aren't as big down the back, where a tweaked bumper design and new LED tail lamps are the only new elements.
Perhaps the biggest change to the sports coupe for American buyers has nothing to do with its styling. Although it was launched as a Scion FR-S in 2012, Toyota's decision to discontinue the Scion brand means the updated car will be sold as an 86 in Toyota showrooms.
Besides the occasionally breathless motor, the other main criticism of the "Toyobaru" twins was their low-rent interiors. Toyota has tackled the issue by adding a new material with silver stitching to the seats and a redesigned steering wheel to the existing setup – small things, but welcome nonetheless.
The updated coupe will be on show at the New York Auto Show, with deliveries to begin in late 2016. As yet there's no word from Subaru about an updated version of its BRZ, despite sharing the same engine and chassis as the 86.