Thursday, November 1, 2012

[Driven] The New Toyota GT86 / Scion FR-S

Back in 2007, Toyota have released a beautiful prototype teaser at the North American International Auto Show under the name of the FT-HS (Future Toyota Hybrid Sport), sparking the return of the sport Toyota cars after that they've been away for a while now.

It was sort of an excitement for the all time Toyota sport car fans, specially those who have admired the 80s sport cars such as the Toyota Celica, Supra. And specially, The Corolla AE86.

Its been 26 years since Toyota have launched one of the people's all time favorite rear-wheel drive Corolla, the AE86. It has always been known for being a lightweight coupe, that could be easily modified and pushing more power to its rear wheels, making it a noticeable car in the Drifting scene.

After years in development, and changes in plans. The FT-HS has came to a point, where it's now the Toyota GT86, and also called the Scion FR-S in the US Market, or the Subaru BRZ.

The GT86 is the latest newborn to the Toyota Sport cars family. The current setup of the car includes a 2.0L D-4S Boxer engine (4U-GSE/FA20) which have been eventually developed by Subaru after that they've rejected the idea in the beginning of a rear-wheel sport car, Till they saw the prototype version running.

The boxer engine has given its flavor to the driving of the 86, But the main idea of Toyota wanting to have a boxer engine, was to revive the heritage of the first Toyota sport car ever made which happened to have a Boxer engine setup, The Toyota Sports 800.

And who's better these days in making boxer engines than Subaru?

Toyota-designated 4U-GSE engine is a naturally aspirated 4-cyl engine that uses Subaru's horizontally opposed boxer engine as well as Toyota's D-4S injection system which uses both direct and port injection. With 86mm x 86mm square bore and stroke, the engine gives out a fairly suitable amount of power with 197 horsepower, and 205 Nm of torque at 6,000 RPMs. AutoEvolution claim to have the GT86 go from 0-62 mph in just 6 seconds.

Chassis was enforced with front MacPherson struts, rear double wishbones, and that was great for cornering with that car, it was very agile and easy to move. And all of that worked great with the %53 weight on the front and %47 for the rear. so with that weight distribution, the enforced chassis and just 130mm of ground clearance? That car got an amazing center of gravity

Vented disc brakes front and rear, and the usual safety tools such as ABS, vehicle stability control, traction control, front, side, curtain and driver's knee airbags.

The use of  "86" in the new GT was very cool, yet smart. The name alone has given a different identity to it, from the Legendary AE86, to the 86mm square bore and stroke in the engine, the chrome tipped exhaust opening measures 86mm, and 86mm is the diameter of the Airconditioning ventilation rings. And that's why you love the touch of Japanese designers.

Also, a cool name has trended for the AE86/GT86, the "hachiroku". That in Japanese means 86; hachi=8 and roku=6

But why the AE86? Why would a 26 year old Corolla be such an inspiring car to one of the coolest modern sport cars?

The 1986 Corolla, a.k.a the AE86, Was a legendary coupe overseas in Japan. Specially through one of the most famous TV shows in particular and being one of the most watched automotive shows, "Best Motoring", Where Japanese racing and drifting legend Keiichi Tsuchiya, also called "Drift King", has utilized the usage of the AE86 in drifting, and racing on the show. Also introducing it as one of his all time favorite Japanese drift cars. A couple of quotes by Keiichi:

"This is fun! I wish that Toyota could make cars like this again!" - (on the Toyota AE86)

"Yeah! How come this car gets me fired up all the time?" - After winning a downhill touge against a Skyline R34 with the Toyota AE86

The original 86, had a very similar setup as the new GT. An average weight of 1,000 kgs, Rear-wheel drive, Front engine, 2-doors coupe, and very customizable.

The twin-cam 4-cyl engine was offered in different setups depending on the region, but to talk about the AE86 that we had in particular, it was fitted with an original 4A-GZE 1.6L engine, which comes Supercharged as standard. having the supercharger open to 8 psi (0.6 bar) having the car powered with 143 horsepower, and 190 Nm of torque at 6,400 RPM. Quiet interesting numbers for a 26 year old Corolla, don't you think?

Although Japan is quiet far from Jordan, but surprisingly we have big scene of classic Toyotas all around town. As owner Mohammad Shaker has told us, the car is pretty customizable. It could fit on what a guy on his early 20s who'd want to go fast in straight lines, or sideways for a good amount of money.

But also, have a JDM looking sport car that you used to watch either on TV or on the internet when we were younger. Or maybe even a car that your dad used to own back in the days?

We wanted to show off the new GT86 along with the original inspiring AE86, for oldschool to meet newschool. Like grandfather, like son. As the newborn has inherited some of its ancestor's factors which has made them really fun to drive.

Now to get down to the main subject, The GT86 has arrived to Jordan not a long time ago. CTA Toyota/Lexus has given us a call knowing that we've been anxiously waiting for this car specifically to feed our brains with pure Japanese beauty.

Right after we heard the news, we couldn't believe it that we had to run right to them and see it for ourselves.
And it was love at first sight, we've actually spent some time checking the car out just standing still, instead of using the time we had to actually drive the car.

We took the car, and hit the road. It was quiet different for us from any other car that we've ever driven. I mean, We've been waiting for this for too long! It was about time we got the chance to actually sit in its seats, and just lean our heads back and see the Touge roads in our heads.

The weight of the car was very light, just like we would want it to be. The curb weight is 1,180 Kgs and the car was pushing 200 horsepower. As we mentioned before, it was fair. not powerful, but fair.
A limited slip differential is offered as an alternate option. Could be fun, no?

The model we had, had an automatic transmission system. Which is considered horrible for us car lovers who would want to rev up the engine and dip the clutch for some action.

Shifting was nice, smooth, but the paddle-shifter exchanges ratios in a fifth of a second, and syncs with engine management that flaunts rev-matching blips during downshifts.

To the driving of the GT86 on the road, it had a beautiful setup in terms of suspension, ride height, and handling assists. The Toyota’s ride was pliant enough to leave its supremely able chassis untroubled by lumps and bumps, its fine balance, faithful turn-in, decent roll control and precision steering preserved intact.

In other words, We were able to take beautiful turns, switch lanes quickly and had no problems or struggles what so ever at higher speeds. What have bothered us, was the slow revving thrust caused by the boxer engine and upper gear ratios.

But hell, the car has given us one of the best driving feelings that we've had in a long time, not only while driving. But even after leaving the car, You'd still be enjoying it while sitting on your couch at home.

As for interior, we fell in love with the gauges, everything was in the right place, we had the RPM in the middle, and it gives us this small blinking red light when we hit the redline, could be useful for proper shifting.

Seats were pretty comfortable, leg space was cool, head space was nice and we were able to check all corners on the car. but that was not the same for the useless seats in the back, we personally thought they were extra weight as it was very uncomfortable to be in the back.

The AC switch knobs felt like the GTR traction and sport mode knobs, they were cool to use though.

And also, for being a head turner, CTA Toyota/Lexus has given us the chance to attend one of the biggest Toyota Meetings in Amman with the GT86, gathered at the meeting were some of Jordan's most powerful engines, most cleanest bodies and some of the coolest stances for JDM Toyota cars. We gave the guys a pretty cool show, having not one, but two GT86's to join the gathering and being the first ever GT86's in Kingdom.

All what we were able to see were smiles, loose jaws, or just people shouting out loud with words such as "THIS IS IT!". It really drew a smile to our faces knowing that there are some Toyota fans that never gave up on new releases.

The car was also built to fit the majority of sport car lover's budget, priced at $29,000 for the manual transmission abroad. But thanks to local customs and taxes, the price could be considered a bit high for our local market. We really can't let out the price on that masterpiece, as it's really not set on a fixed number.

To the main question, If I had the money for it, should we buy it?

our answer would be: Definitely! It is a bit underpowered, but the car is a beauty, and handled better than most of the cars that we've had in a long time. and don't forget, the car was built to be customized. So slash on a turbo kit and get dem horses running

To end this article with a Flat-Out to our friends from UAE, CrankAndPiston.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article about the GT86 as much as we did enjoy writing it and driving such a legendary car. Keep an eye for this beauty on the road, as it will hopefully be one hell of a car.

Photography credits go to: Estabraq Kamal
Many thanks to Mohammad Shaker, Mohammad alNasser, Mustafa Ramahi, Toyota Jordan, and the NMK Dyno center for making this possible.


SRT8 ! said...

Nice one abdullah , its a great article ! As you said unfortunately its expensive compared to other cars , i guess a max of 30,000 JDs is a good price for a fully loaded Automatic transmission one

Nadim Haddad said...

fantastic photography...

Unknown said...

What a lovely cars
What a lovely article
What a lovely photos
Great job Esto, Great job Abdullah

amer hbahbha said...

zlmti esto & abood

Anonymous said...

You have reached perfection in this article Esto

Adam said...

what a beautiful car

Anonymous said...

in some counties the sell it as a subaru and in another as a scion and in another a toyota

Zain said...

Nice site you got there

Anonymous said...

Yeah its really a very lovely car and i like it so much.Its price is also manageable and working is very awesome.Its specifications and shape all excellent and finishing is very impressive.Nice work done on this blog, its really very informative.However if you want to check the Vin of your car so side a look on vin decoder vw.

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