Auto Review: 2016 Toyota 86 TRD Blackline Edition
FINE, be skeptical (because we know you are), but it’s the only logical explanation. If it was anything other than love, there would be a long list of flaws against the Toyota 86 TRD Blackline edition. But there isn’t (it’s just a short list we can accept because Exhaust Notes is blinded by love – and there is a lot to love). The Blackline edition shares the same DNA as its less edgy sisters, the 86 GT and GTS, and closely related cousin the Subaru BRZ, and with a limited run of just 450 (250 manuals and 200 autos), the Blackline is a bit more exclusive than the everyday 86. With a price tag of $37,990-$40,490 (plus on-roads) it’s around $2000 more as well, but for the extra coin you get the TRD front and rear spoilers, a TRD rear bumper and some other subtle but stylish tweaks, along with funky black decals on the right hand side of the roof and bonnet to contrast the Liquid White paint. The interior is bold, with splashes of red pretty much everywhere – on the seats, the steering wheel, and covers on the handbrake and gear lever. Despite no mechanical changes, and the same naturally aspirated 2.0L boxer D-4S four cylinder direct injection power plant putting our 147kW of power and 205Nm of torque, the Blackline seems to have more poke than the standard models, and a simply fantastic engine note. Add in its ultra low centre of gravity and exceptional power-to-weight ratio and its race bred pedigree (because let’s face it, at its heart the 86 draws inspiration from the original Sports 800 and the AE86), and you have a true driver’s car. The manual transmission is smooth, but we found the drive train snatchy – particularly at lower speeds. As an aside, and although we know it would never happen, the 86 TRD Blackline Edition would be a prime candidate for a beefed up dual clutch auto. The interior is simple, uncomplicated and minimalistic. In an age where manufacturers are piling buttons and knobs onto steering wheels, the 86 has none. And while it’s frustrating when you want to turn down the radio in traffic, when you’re on a drive it all becomes irrelevant. It’s not the quickest car on the market, but for the price and fun factor, it’s a sure winner in our book. On the highway, it cruises comfortably. But opening it up on a twisty road, and the exhilaration factor goes through the roof. Some might even say it’s too wild, but not us – we loved it. Okay, so it’s not perfect, it sucks on the family friendliness front, the back seats can cater for a child seat, but don’t really suit the purpose – there’s simply no room. Adding technology like Bluetooth and the radio was an afterthought – and in many ways it shows – the technology setup is ordinary. And sure, the interior isn’t as polished as other cars on the market, but when it hits 3,500rpm and it comes to life, do we really care. The 2016 Toyota 86 Blackline Edition was built for cornering hard, and driving with vigour. Did we mention we’re in love. Our test vehicle was provided by Toyota Australia. To find out more about the 2016 Toyota 86 Blackline Edition, contact your local Toyota dealer.