In a world that’s moving at breakneck speed a five-year old car like the Toyota 86 needs a serious freshen-up to keep it in the minds of potential buyers.

A clever marketing move is the introduction of limited editions – not ‘special’ editions which can be moved off the showroom floors in volume and soon fade from the mind. Limited editions take on an aura of exclusivity hence the Toyota LE.

Only 60, all in a wild orange shade, came Downunder a couple of months back. We’ve just spent a most enjoyable week in one.

It’s not just a fancy new colour, Toyota 86 has plenty of other changes under that stunning skin. Genuine sports changes by way of a stiffer Sachs suspension and larger Brembo brakes (four-calliper front, two-calliper rear) than those on the 86 GTS on which the LE is based.

Toyota tells us the styling of the 86 was inspired by the 1965 Toyota 2000GT, a sports model that’s already being auctioned for over a million dollars.

Did we mention the colour? Of course we did, but it’s arguably the biggest feature of 86’s LE so it deserves a place in the Styling section of the report. Tagged Solar Orange it’s only offered in the LE so lesser 86s have to make do with Velocity Orange.

The black details on the LE set off its wild paint brilliantly.


A different design of 17-inch 10-spoke alloys ties in nicely with the body colour and makes it easy to see the big Brembos.

Inside, the 86 LE there’s a suede dashboard with – of course – orange stitching. The seats and steering wheel gets the same stitching treatment.

The Toyota / Subaru 2.0-litre flat-four engine was revised in late 2016, lifting it from 200 horsepower to 207 bhp (152 kW if you like metric engine numbers).

If you don’t want a six-speed manual, tough luck – that’s all you get in this cool little sports machine.

At the same time as the 2016 upgrade the differential ratio was reduced to get grunt to the road by way of having the engine at higher revs for the same road speed. More about this in the Driving section.

Drop the Toyota down a gear or two, give it a bootfull and enjoy the ride. Because there’s no turbocharger and the engine responds virtually instantly. Love it.

The engine has a nice sporty note that’s most pleasing to the ear, noticeably better than the sound from the earlier models.

You do need a lot of revs to get the best from it – which is exactly how it should be. Gear changes are slick and easy and the short throw lever is in just the right place.


Handling is exceptionally good and the LE’s new Sachs system is even more responsive than that in the others in the 86 range. Think what you want the car to do and it seems to get the message from your brain rather than simply through your hands and feet.

Clever design means ride comfort doesn’t really seem any different from the standard Toyota 86. We weren’t able to do a back-to-back with other variants, but will see if we can manage that some day.

The front sport seats provide good support but aren’t too aggressive in the shape of the side bolsters. Nevertheless if your legs and back are not as young as they used to be you may struggle to get in and out.

Noise from the tyres is generally subdued, but some harsh surfaces, particularly concrete and coarse-chip, do increase sound intrusion. Though this isn’t likely to faze a full-on keen driver may we suggest you check this for yourself if harsh roads are part of your – and other occupants’ – lives.

At $41,490 the Limited Edition 86 costs significantly more than the $36,490 GTS on which it’s based, but in the world of high-performance that’s the penalty you have to pay. Would I buy an 86 LE? Most certainly, the appearance and excellent on-road performance make it something special. Then again, if I was tight on money the $5000 offers a big saving…


86 GT Edition 2.0-litre petrol two-door coupe: $30,790 (manual)
86 GTS 2.0-litre petrol two-door coupe: $36,490 (manual)
86 Limited Edition 2.0-litre petrol two-door coupe: $41,490 (manual)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota 86 Limited Edition 2.0-litre petrol two-door coupe)

Capacity: 1.998 litres
Configuration: Four cylindersin line
Maximum Power: 152 kW @ 7000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 212 Nm @ 6400 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.4 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 194 g/km

Six-speed manual

Length: 4240 mm
Wheelbase: 2570 mm
Width: 1775 mm
Height: 1285 mm
Turning Circle: 10.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 1275 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres

Front: Ventilated Disc
Rear: Ventilated Disc

Three years / 100,000 km

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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