The Corolla name doesn't just refer to some of the most mundane commuter cars on the planet—it was also applied to Toyota's most iconic performance models built between 1983 and 1987. They were called AE86s, a name that breaks down in Toyota-speak as follows: 4A engines (A), a Corolla badge (E), fifth-generation bodies (8) and represented the sixth variant of this family (6).
The recipe was fairly simple. Toyota linked a fuel-injected twin-cam engine to a five-speed manual in a rear-wheel drive chassis with optional LSD. The AE86 also had a fairly advanced suspension with stabilizer bars, and ventilated disc brakes on all corners. Just enough power and less than 2200 lbs with even weight distribution made the "Hachi-roku" the king of the canyons and rallies all across the planet, raising the 86's reputation to iconic status. Be they Corolla Levins, Sports, GTSes or Sprinter Truenos, these Japanese economy cars drove like no other while costing reasonable money.
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The current Toyota 86 (and Subaru BRZ) was designed with the same ideas in mind, now built around a flat-four engine featuring a bore and stroke of 86 mm, a tribute that allows for a throwback "86" badge. At 205 hp for 2017, the manufacturers clearly won't give it an overabundance of power, no matter how much we want it. That makes 86 drivers work hard for the rewards of speed, and at the end of the day, that's very AE86 of them.