What we can expect with the "Kouki" the 2017 Toyota 86 (my thoughts...)
March 26, 2016
For the USA market, the Scion FR-S will be renamed the Toyota 86 with the merging of Scion brand to it's parent brand, Toyota. That's old news in the days of internet era. It's two weeks old by now...
But here's my thoughts on the 2017...Toyota 86.
This new Toyota 86 will also be a year when it will receive its first minor change, or what we enthusiast in JDM scene, will call the "Kouki" model, denoting the mid-cycle changed "Late Model"
The "Kouki 86"will see a change best appreciated by the fans of the current models, says sources. While the engine will still be a flat-four FA20 that has powered the Scion FR-S/ Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ since 2013, the 2017 will feature extensive tweaks in myriads of ways inside, each subtle, but collectively very significant, to enhance response, fluidity, an even more linear torque delivery, and tactility for performance drivers. What these changes will actually consist of is still unpublished, but we are expecting a more closer number to the catalog output of 205 ps than previous models had respectively to its catalog spec of 200. So the "actual" increase might not be just 5 hp difference of catalog's 200 to 205 at all, but much more. This also applies to the torque figures.
Also I would assume, that the changes in power output is basically a side-effect of honing the engine to even higher levels of control and communication character to the driver, so while the output may still be modest, the thrill and engagement for an experienced driver has been greatly enhanced.
What we gather in the more obvious and generic levels, as debuted at New York Auto Show this past weekend, is the exterior and interior cabin changes.
The headlights of the 86 are now integrated with the turn signals in the main assembly. Where-as the previous "Zenki" (early models) were separated in the lower bumper, the new 86 will open up this area on the front bumper for a much wider funnel-effect engine air intake and under-hood venting. This change is also, something that resulted from enhancing driver experience, and the aesthetics are something of a result of this priority. So there are visually controversial flow of complex lines and shapes, which are not as simple and visually linear. But again, there seems to be a huge level of R&D performed with various prototyping and testing to derive with enhanced stability aerodynamically over the last model, which was already very good in this regard.
The rear bumper also has slight changes to the crease lines to reflect the flow both visually and more importantly for the Kouki, the aerodynamics.
We will wait a bit more to get a good high resolution photograph from official press releases or leaks, but here's something interesting that someone leaked from the Subaru side of operation.
We can see in the photo of the cluster, there is a new LCD display panel where there used to be dummy lamps and a fuel gauge on the right-most dial. The screen, if you look closely, extends past the dial border, and into the center circle, and is a rectangular display. By the size of the display it looks to be about the same size as the Subaru WRX and STI's center information display unit, or something seen in Toyota Sienna and Corolla/Scion iM as Multi-Information Display.
In the photo, it is simply displaying a right door open indication, but this will feature much more flexibility in terms of the type of information, compared to dummy-lights like before.
For example, it can display a more useful things like Fuel Range, and other types of Trip Computations. It can also display much more precisely what might be wrong with today's complicated automotive systems, and even user-selected preference options of various vehicle parameters. Specific to the 86/BRZ, it is also possible to show things like performance driving logs, or track performance items like laps and such... I know already that even the first 2013 Zenki models has on-board data logging and output capability hidden in the Body Control Unit, which we have seen various reverse-engineered plug-in devices have utilized already as popular products. And this output from the Zenki was already used to combine additional data to a PlayStation 3 specific device in Japan for logging GPS+Vehicle Data, to render a Gran Turismo 6 Replay based on real driving at a real raceway. Perhaps that sort of output can be organized and used for the MID screen here in the 2017? Only time will tell, but even if basic, it should be able to display key things like Voltage, Oil Temp, Water Temp, VSC action mode, and much more already on the car as output untapped. I hope it's something useful to us "driving enthusiasts."
The Kouki's Steering wheel spoke has been revised a bit at the spokes to accommodate a steering wheel control button array, (perhaps more to really dig and control the MID display areas) as so commonly available to other cars today. We can see there;s also the usual phone and radio controls as well.
I personally liked the Zenki type for its classic simplicity visually. But I guess as the car ages a bit in the market, it needed some of the generic things that most consumers expect in a car at this price? At least, this is what Toyota does well, so I can't be complaining here. 😉 Hardcore tuners of classic AE's have hacked away at these things and made things their own way in the past anyway. More variety of parts a decade from now, all the better, I say.
Speaking of interchangeability, I am willing to bet pretty hard, that the bumpers, headlights, and tail-lamps can easily be swapped between the Zenki and Kouki models, with just a tad of wiring and socket pinning. The fender panel and hood seems to be exactly the same on both generations so there shouldn't be any cutting or filling required.
Here's something I got too from some folks in Japan of what seems to be a tail light from a Kouki 86. Seems to be what is on the presentation model shown at New York last weekend.
There seems to now be a uncommon "projector" type unit inside the far ends... Also an array of LED's it seems to be as well but the brake lamp area of the red covered section we see almost classic diffuser-spread style lighting of older cars. Nice. Now if you see what I see at the top...seems to be a fin? It's not attached to the trunk so it might be hanging from something like a wing huh?
Unrelated to this writing, but the Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada said from New York Auto Show, that there's significant aerodynamic changes, so this might be something we can expect? A proper wing for the first time in 86/BRZ for the USA? Let's wait and see as time closes in...
I'll keep you informed if I think of anything else or see something...
The following photos, from Toyota's Global Pressroom website: http://pressroom.toyota.com/releases/toyota-86-nyias-2016.htm