2011 Tokyo Motor Show: Toyota GT 86 leaves some of us speechless

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 30, 2011

Toyota’s new 200-hp GT 86 rear-wheel-drive sports coupe was unveiled today at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. Toyota is hoping that this model would spice up its practical and boring image, the result of products like the Corolla and Camry. This car has been in development for five years. In Japan, it will be called the Toyota 86 while in the U.S., it would be offered as the Scion FR-S.

Toyoda has been closely monitoring this car, which is expected to boost Toyota’s performance credentials and will be marketed as an inexpensive halo model. The 86 can achieve a top speed of 142 mph and it could accelerate from zero to 62-mph in six seconds. But chief engineer Tetsuya Tada clarifies that achieving raw speed isn’t the target.

This model is priced low so that it could attract buyers fresh out of college. Handling it is a joy as it is seated low. Toyota stripped out its advanced electronic-control systems and turbochargers.

In addition, car enthusiasts will love it because it is easily customizable. Toyota has yet to announce the pricing details or the gas-mileage estimates. However, the company said that it is hoping to price it at about 2 million yen ($26,000).

Toyota’s new design language makes use of two important principles. The first is the Under Priority frontal design which makes the lower grille larger and thus puts more attention on the lower portion of the vehicle, giving it a more assertive yet highly unique look.

The second is known as the Keen Look approach. This utilizes a clear, expressive, and intelligent style. This concept is integrated to the new Toyota GT 86 with its iconic yet simple and bold design. Based mainly on the idea known as Neo Functionalism, this new offering from Toyota utilizes a low center of gravity. However, Toyota had to deal with its technical constraints due to its compact dimensions. Furthermore, its aerodynamic performance is clearly inspired by F1 technology.

In terms of style, it is sweeping and evocative which brings to mind the tradition of Toyota when it comes to sports cars. And interesting for the GT 86 is that its design utilizes a concept, which is highly unique, known as Aero Sandwiching. What this does is to make sure that the vehicle is pushed by air on each of the sides, the top, and bottom. Basically, it is “sandwiched” by air on every direction. As a result, the GT 86 is stabilized not only horizontally but vertically as well.

Another benefit is that while the car is indeed stabilized, it gives no negative effect on the car’s drag coefficient. Still on its new design language, the new GT 86 is able to highlight this through its lower grille with its strong scorpion style, giving this new model an athletic and aggressive look. The treatment experienced by its underbody is a good example of this particular system. The pagoda roof’s dented curve was arrived at the same way. All around it are attached the sakana, which are stabilizing canard fins, and is Japanese for fish. By being positioned not just on the underbody but its sides as well, the sakana ensure that lateral stability is present in the GT 86.

The exterior of the GT 86 shows sporty details that are exclusive to this model. There is for instance the T-mesh grille design and the rear spoiler. Its alloy 17-inch wheels have been specifically made for this version. Then there are the twin exhausts in the rear whose tips have the connecting rod motif. There is also the ‘86’ piston logo which has been mounted on the front wing. This logo hints at the truly unique quality of the GT 86, given its rear-wheel drive front-boxer engine powertrain configuration.

However, the logo also symbolizes the tires that slide during a 4-wheel drift, proving that the GT 86 does have great balance even when taken to the limits of its performance.

Inside, one can clearly see that the cockpit is now more driver-focused and makes one reconsider what the spirit is of driving a sports car. This is made possible by taking a closer look at the functionality and ergonomics of each part that the driver interacts with. As a result, it allows the GT 86 be driven in a manner as if it was merely an extension of the driver. Even the seat was designed to achieve perfect ergonomics. This was achieved with the help of circuit testing at the Nurburgring and even under race situations. It thus guarantees that comfort is maintained even during long travels.

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