It seems like we’ve been down this road before, doesn’t it? A special edition Toyota 86 that’s exclusive to the Japanese market is nothing new and yet, as often as our friends in Japan get these limited edition 86s, we haven’t had as much luck in that regard. In any event, a new limited-run Toyota 86 is fresh from the oven over there in Japan, and it’s promising, among other things, improved braking, sharper handling, and a special edition paint color. It’s called the Toyota 86 Solar Orange Limited and yes, it’s not coming to the States.
The upgrades themselves didn’t turn the 86 Solar Orange Limited into a full-blown performance car, but in the technical sense, they helped create a better driving experience for those who are willing to spend the money for the car. In a lot of ways, it’s similar to past special edition 86s that have made their way into Japan, including the 86 Yellow Limited and the curiously designed 86 Style CB. The latter is arguably the most unique of the three examples, but the Solar Orange limited is different too in some respects. The Creamsicle paint finish, for example, is exclusive to this edition, as is Toyota’s new High Performance package, which adds a number of functionally useful components that help improve the 86’s overall driving and handling experience.
Toyota didn’t say how many examples of the 86 Solar Orange Limited it plans to build, opting only to say that pricing starts at 3,251,880 yen for the manual transmission model and 3,318,840 yen for the automatic transmission model. Based on current exchange rates, those prices convert to around $29,400 and $30,000, respectively. Interested customers have only between January 31 to March 10, 2017 to place their orders, after which Toyota will likely stop production to retain its overall exclusivity.
What makes the Toyota 86 Solar Orange Limited So Special
Like past special edition models of the Toyota 86, the Solar Orange Limited differentiates itself with an exclusive Creamsicle color that Toyota says will be limited to this mode alone. The color finish alone should make for enough of an upgrade to justify its special edition label, but the 86 Solar Orange Limited also boasts of other notable goodies, including cosmetic upgrades to the exterior and interior in the form of black mirror caps, heated seats dressed in leather and Alcantara upholstery, and matching orange stitching throughout the cabin.
If this “formula” looks and sounds familiar to you, there’s a good chance that you already saw it with the 86 Yellow Limited that Toyota introduced back in July 2015. That one was also characterized by a unique paint to the sports coupe that the automaker referred to as Sunrise Yellow. As far as packages are concerned, the Yellow Limited beats its Solar Orange counterpart thanks to an aerodynamic package that includes, among other things, a modified front bumper, a massive rear wing, new side skirts, and a bigger diffuser.
Another comparison, albeit one that’s not as apt as the Yellow Limited is the 86 Style Cb, which Toyota introduced all the way back in February 2015. That special edition version of the 86 featured a completely redesigned exterior that somewhat lost its 86 design qualities in favor of something that resembled a cross between the old Toyota Celica and 2000GT models. At the very least, it had some Zagato inspiration to it, including the sloped nose and the round set of headlights.
The two previous 86 special edition examples show the expanse of creativity that Toyota can still dip into at opportune times. In some ways, the same can be said for the Solar Orange Limited since its Creamsicle paint finish and the other cosmetic changes aren’t the only upgrades available for this specific model. Just as important is the High Performance Package that includes a new set of Brembo brakes with red calipers and new shocks from Sachs. These components combine with the coupe’s special set of 17-inch thin-spoked wheels to not only enhance the car’s looks, but also give it better driving and handling qualities compared to the standard 86.
It’s worth pointing out that Toyota is releasing the High Performance Package for standard 86 models on February 7 in Japan. Those who want to opt for the Solar Orange Limited model with the High Performance Package need only add 243,000 yen (around $2,200) to the cost of the special edition 86.
We’ve come this far without mentioning the 86’s engine, and there’s a reason for that. Like past special edition trims of the sports coupe, Toyota, for one reason or another, has once again opted to ignore doing any upgrades on the sports car’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. That means that those who end up placing orders for the 86 Solar Orange Limited will have to for the car’s standard output of 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. Sure, it’s five horsepower and five pound-feet more than the old version of the 86, but it’s still not where we’d like it to be.