Toyota GR86 Trueno Edition pays tribute to the original panda 86

Toyota has introduced a new limited edition model of the GR86 with a strong throwback to the famed AE86. It’s even called the Toyota GR86 Trueno Edition, and it’s loaded with visual cues referencing the car that gave the GR86 its namesake.

The pop-up headlight variant of the AE86 was, of course, called the Toyota Sprinter Trueno, while the fixed-headlight variant was called the Corolla Levin. The names dated back to the TE27 and was done to offer more options in Toyota’s insanely complex Japanese dealer network. Trueno means “thunder” in Spanish and Levin is an old English word meaning “lightning”, a fitting moniker for the high-performance twins.

We in the US only got a version of the flip-up headlight Sprinter Trueno, though it was called, confusingly, the Corolla GT-S. But in the years since its debut in 1985, the Trueno has become globally famous as the rest of the world discovered its role in the origins of Japanese drifting and as the star of Initial D. As such, a name that was never used outside of Japan has become well-known enough that it can headline a special edition of the GR86.

It’s not even the first time Toyota has used the Trueno name for the GR86. The official name for the dark blue color option is Trueno Blue. However, in keeping with the two most popular paint options on the AE86, the GR86 Trueno Edition will only be offered in either white or red.

No matter which base color you choose, the car will come with a black-wrapped hood and decal stripes along the doors that mimic the AE86’s “panda” graphic scheme. A black-painted spoiler also mimics the AE86’s. Black door handles and mirror caps hearken back to a simpler time when even top trim levels came with cost saving commonalities. Its black wheels are a Trueno Edition exclusive as well, perhaps a reference not to the original AE86’s wheels but the gunmetal RS-Watanabes that seem to be the de facto wheel for the chassis.

The GR86 comes with a Trueno Edition badge that uses the same font as the Sprinter Trueno’s. It can be found on both the trunklid and the front bumper, just like its predecessor. The Trueno badging can be found on the throwback leather-wrapped shift knob. Leather also covers the steering wheel, and red stitching on the shift boot and seats round out the exclusive touches.

A new Performance Package that comes standard on the Trueno Edition equips the suspension with Sachs dampers and Brembo brakes. The FA24 engine remains unchanged, generating 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque at just 3,700 rpm. Overall weight is kept down to an astoundingly low 2,811 pounds for 6-speed manual cars. All GR86 purchases come with a free 1-year membership to NASA that includes on free high-performance driving event.

Only 860 Trueno Editions will be sold in the US, and each one’s place in the series will be denoted by a number plate on the driver’s side dashboard. Is it a blatant money grab targeted at Japanese car enthusiasts? Indeed. But we’re suckers for heritage-laden special editions. If we were buying a GR86 this would be the one. The Toyota GR86 Trueno Edition hits showrooms this winter.

Additionally, Toyota’s offering a limited 2024 GR Supra to honor the nameplate’s 45th anniversary. Finished in Mikan Orange, it honors the lineage that began in 1979 with the A40 Celica Supra. Only 900 of these will be sold in the US. This one doesn’t speak to us as much as the GR86 Trueno Edition. The orange color seems like it wants to recall the Supra from The Fast and the Furious, which just seems cheesy. Sign us up for the GR86; pass on the Supra.

Additional Images:

Images courtesy of Toyota.

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5 Responses to Toyota GR86 Trueno Edition pays tribute to the original panda 86

  1. chrisp says:

    The labels mentioning the factory are a nice touch.
    They remind me of the sticker on the inside of the hood of the first generation Lexus IS / Toyota Altezza, saying “KANTO AUTO WORKS”.

  2. jim simpson says:

    The AE86 Trueno variant is quite lovely and seems a very fitting homage to the original car… Kudo’s to Toyota for doing this… While it is very nicely done, I am more excited by the Trueno than the Supra…

  3. TheJWT says:

    “However, in keeping with the two most popular paint options on the AE86, the GR86 Trueno Edition will only be offered in either white or red.”

    As someone who loves AE86s but has zero attachment to Initial D, the red one sounds even more enticing! Now if only they’d come out with a Black Limited…

  4. pete240z says:

    I would love to buy that Trueno AE86 – where can I buy one?

    Ha ha ha ha ha – I really crack myself up.

  5. Langheck says:

    Finally a car for the affluent weeb who can afford to keep their hands clean XD

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