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Auto blogFri, 08 Feb 2013 14:16:00 EST
As dearly as we love the Toyota GT86 / Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ franchise, we readily admit we wouldn't look sideways at a model with a bit more firepower. And while that's not quite on the table yet, Toyota has been busy amping up the visual firepower of its rear-drive coupe with a whole host of TRD parts. To this point, that's been a largely à la carte affair, but the automaker's UK outpost has just announced a special-edition model that allows our British friends to pick up the whole shooting match all in one go.
The Toyota GT86 TRD will only be available in black and white, and just 250 examples are to be built. As you can see from the excellent gallery above, the catalog of look-faster bits include a more aggressive front air dam, side skirts, rear bumper fascia, spoiler and unique 18-inch forged alloys. Additional flourishes include a TRD shift lever and branded radiator cap. The sole concession to actual performance? A "fast-response quad exhaust" that might only improve things audibly - 0-62 mph is apparently unchanged at 7.7 seconds, and the top end is still 140 mph for the manual transmission model. (The auto gets by with 8.4 seconds and 130 mph).
Pricing? Glad you asked. £31,495 for GT 86 TRD manual, £32,995 for the automatic - that's nearly $50,000 US for the tripedalist and just over for the automatic. (Those are heady prices, but bear in mind that UK MSRPs and taxes are generally significantly higher than their US counterparts). If the standard GT86 is more your speed, it still rings up at a more affordable £24,995 - roughly $39,500 - leaving plenty of budget for actual performance parts. No word yet on North American availability of a special TRD model, but we've got a call in...
2012 was a good year for the Toyota Prius line, the hybrid that started it all moving 236,659 units, being the best-selling model in California for the year and the Prius C (pictured) being deemed the most reliable car of 2012 by Consumer Reports. Then 2013 happened, and gas prices dropped more than expected, and people haven't been buying the little hybrids like they used to.
A report in Bloomberg says Toyota set 250,000 units as the Prius family's sales target for this year, but hits like the double-digit drop in year-on-year performance in February have helped lower 2013 sales by 8.4 percent compared to 2012, making the objective "a challenge" to reach. The declines in Prius sales come even as hybrid sales overall were up in the first couple of months this year, including sales of other Toyota and Lexus hybrids. Jim Lentz, Toyota's North American chief, said the Prius target would be adjusted if necessary.
An increasing number of people are starting to consider the potential downsides of a transition to autonomous cars. The FBI is already looking at them for the potential ill effects on law enforcement, and a scientist for Toyota is raising the possibility that driverless vehicles could actually be detrimental to the environment over the long term.
Ken Laberteaux, who studies future transportation for Toyota, thinks that autonomous cars could lead to more pollution, not less, says Bloomberg. However, Laberteaux's theory isn't so much based purely on science as it is considering behavioral and historical trends. "US history shows that anytime you make driving easier, there seems to be this inexhaustible desire to live further from things," said Laberteaux during a presentation at the Automated Vehicles Symposium in San Francisco, CA, cited by Bloomberg.
Laberteaux's belief is that if commuters can make their drives easier, then they will be more willing to live farther away from the cities where they work. The end result would be more urban sprawl and increased pollution from the longer travel times.