As a result, the 86 offers fun driving at a level unprecedented in earlier sports cars.
It carries on the spirit of the AE86 Corolla in its aim to be a car that evolves with its owner.
I wonder if Toyota's statement that the new "86" "carries on the spirit of the AE86 Corolla" is true or not. Personally I think that it's going to be a very successful marketing ploy, but that the 86 moniker isn't really deserved.
The original "hachi-roku" or 86, has a chassis code that tells its own story:
A - for the 4A engine, 1.6L in-line four cylinder (96kW)
E - is Corolla
8 - The 8th Gen Corolla was E80 and variants
6 - if for the sixth variant of this generation.
If you were to compare that with the current "86" then the chassis code might read (I speculate because I don't know yet):
D - for the D-4S boxer flat-4 engine, "jointly developed" by Toyota and Subaru (though in reality entirely Subaru). Subaru call the engine the FA20 in their documentation; it puts out 149kW
KD - which I think is about the right sequence for what the next Toyota model is
1 - is for the 1st Generation.
0 - is for the only variant of this generation.
Putting it all together we'd get DKD10, which if it was actually carring on the "spirit of the AE86 Corolla" by taking an existing one, should read DE155.
Really if the car was going to be a sporty variant of the Corolla, then nearest thing which actually does carry on "spirit of the AE86 Corolla" would have been the Corolla Axio as used in Japan's Super GT series:
Perhaps they meant it slightly differently. The Corolla was a car for the masses, and a reasonably small one meant for spritely city driving. Surely a 1.6L variant of an existing 1.5L car would have been in order; perhaps making a coupe from an existing sedan.
A donor car to fit that purpose would have been the Third Generation Toyota Yaris. Taking the existing chassis code as a guide from that car would have produced a code of ZP133 with the engine presumably being the 1.6L "Valvematic" in-line four in the European and Japanese Domestic Market Corolla/Auris. Curiously in 20 years, the engine puts out just 1kW more than the 4A engine from the original AE86 but does so sipping just 7.3L/100km rather than 10.8L/100km.
If the car is pitched in the low $30K range as is being suggested, then the car's logical competitor is the Subaru Impreza which also reveals its new Fourth Generation next year and with the same engine.
Given that Subaru's BRZ is pretty well much exactly the same car but with a different badge on it and has already been revealed by Autoweek, I don't know why people would by the Toyota 86. If all it comes down to is the badge on the front, then I'd prefer the Subaru. Subaru has more street cred which has been built through rallying and the 86 doesn't really carry on the "spirit of the AE86 Corolla" at all.
Maybe it should have really been called Toyotabaru?