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TRD already working on 'hot' GT 86

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IOL mot pic dec5 Toyota GT 86 1

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Toyota is already testing supercharged versions of the GT 86.

Tetsuo Tada is the senior Toyota engineer on the joint-venture GT 86 sports coupé project with Subaru. He is also a righteous petrolhead.

Before the dust had even settled on the world launch of the GT 86 at the Tokyo motor show, Tada-san was telling reporters that he was 'evaluating' a high-performance version of the GT 86, which boasts a respectable if not tyre-smoking 147kW in standard guise.

Armchair engineers have already pointed out that the simplest way to give the 86 bigger cojones would be to drop a turbocharged STI engine under that svelte bonnet - but that's the Subaru way, not the Toyota way.

Toyota's in-house tuning arm TRD believes (and Tada is fully in agreement with them on this) that supercharging, not turbocharging, is the way to go.

He says is bolting on a blower is simpler than boring and stroking the engine to create extra cubes, and that superchargers don't suffer from turbo lag. In fact, he's been quoted as saying that turbocharging, all-wheel drive and too-wide tyres are what make modern sports cars boring to drive.

Too-wide tyres? Yes, Cyril, Tada-san insisted that the test programme for the GT 86 included some serious sideways time, to set the car up so it would drift smoothly, predictably and controllably. And that's the first time that drifting has ever been included in the development programme for any Toyota.

TRD knows all about supercharging; they've been offering aftermarket kits for standard Toyota models since 1998 (as in the Auris TRD, recently released in South Africa), and they've already built a couple of supercharged GT 86 mules for Tada to play with.

He's not saying how much extra power a supercharged GT 86 might develop, but sources at Toyota say the standard chassis could handle an extra 35kW without breaking a sweat - and Tada has TRD busy looking at suspension upgrades, which could mean he has set the bar considerably higher than 180kW.

OK, let's do the math:

TRD makes a very popular supercharger conversion kit for the US-market Toyota Tacoma pickup that boosts its four-litre V6 from 174kW to a muscular 225.

That suggests that a 210kW GT 86 could be quite easily achieved and, even if the supercharger, intercooler plumbing and upgraded suspension added 100kg to the weight of the car, it would still have about the same power-to-weight ratio as a Nissan 370Z.

The Zee gets from 0-100 in 5.3 seconds and tops out at 250km/h, whereas the stock GT 86 is quoted at 6.8 seconds and 228km/h.

The only question now is, will Toyota offer the supercharged GT 86 as a model in its own right or as an aftermarket pack? Tada-san won't say; he just smiles.

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