What is it?

This is the Toyota GT86, formerly known as the FT-86, and created to lure young, fun-loving drivers back to a Toyota brand that has become dominated by big-selling but ultimately bland models.

The front-engined, rear-drive 2+2 has been created in a close collaboration with Subaru, in which Toyota owns a 16.5 per cent share, and will spawn three mechanically identical but differently styled cars: the GT86, the Subaru BRZ and, for the American market, the Scion FR-S.

All three will be powered by the same 197bhp, 151lb ft flat four engine. Based on the Subaru FB20 block but fitted with a Toyota-designed head, the 2.0-litre engine has been reworked with a shorter stroke and wider bores, allowing it to rev higher. Maximum power arrives at 7000rpm, while peak torque is at 6600rpm.

In total, 91 per cent of parts are bespoke to the GT86 or its counterparts. At £24,995 when it goes on sale in June a relative bargain should it deliver on its promised fun.

What’s it like?

At this juncture it’s worth noting that our drive was conducted at a test track in Japan, where the silky smooth surface made any conclusions about the ride impossible to gauge accurately. Also, this is a pre-production car, set up to almost launch spec save for the fitment of details such as the audio system.

Sliding into the GT86’s bucket seats – which are snug, grippy and positioned at a perfect, low-slung height – sets the tone. With all the controls close to hand, the cockpit is as cosseting as a Porsche’s, albeit not trimmed to the same standard.

At idle, the engine note is fairly subdued, but take it up to the 7500rpm redline and it sounds growly. However, this car is all about the corners. Its relatively low power means it’s no sprint champion, and the 0-62mph time is estimated at a modest 7.0sec.

But the key facets of an 1180kg kerb weight, rear-wheel drive, ESP that can be fully turned off, quick steering and a limited-slip differential make it a riot in the twisty stuff. Also, the tyres are the same 17in low-resistance versions as can be found on a Prius, all the better to make sure their grip can be overcome if the mood takes you.

Turn in to a corner and there is some roll, but it’s well contained. On a constant throttle and steady steering, it understeers slightly, but lift mid-corner or trail the brakes – or just throw it in – and it’ll either straighten its line or flick to oversteer as you choose.

Furthermore, it never catches you out when it does start to slide because the steering is so nicely weighted and the chassis so responsive that they telegraph exactly what’s happening at all times.

There are disappointments, but they are minor. The six-speed manual gearbox is a touch notchy, while the optional six-speed automatic changes smoothly and quickly but lacks the sharpness of its dual-clutch rivals. When it’s on, the stability control system also intervenes too harshly.

Should I buy one?

Despite this, at its best, the driving experience is a match for the likes of a Porsche Cayman, and accolades don’t come much higher than that. That it can’t reach those heights across as broad a range of conditions as the German-built car shouldn’t detract from its overall success, because the fact that it can even get close is a minor miracle.

Hidemitsu Hoshiga

Toyota GT86

Price: £24,995; Top speed: 143mph (est); 0-62mph: 7.0sec (est); Economy: 40.9mpg (est, combined); CO2: 160g/km (est); Kerb weight: 1180kg; Engine: 4 cyls horizontally opposed, 1998cc, petrol; Installation: Front, longitudinal, RWD; Power: 197bhp at 7000rpm; Torque: 151lb ft at 6600rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual; Length: 4240mm; Height: 1285mm; Wheelbase: 2570mm; Wheels: 7Jx17in; Tyres: 215/45 R17.

Join the debate

Comments
40

Re: Toyota GT 86

2 years 44 weeks ago

It's incredible that a company such as Toyota can go from zero to hero in the sports car stakes in one stroke, I am impressed!

What they have demonstrated though that no matter where technology is leading us, the principles and basics of a great fun car (simple, light weight, great chassis, rear drive and low centre of gravity) will always remain.

It's not all plain sailing of course. With the now though £28000 price tag, this is going to make for an interesting comparison to a decent used Cayman now, unless you need the rear seats of course.

Welcome back Toyota.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Re: Toyota GT 86

2 years 44 weeks ago

TegTypeR wrote:

It's incredible that a company such as Toyota can go from zero to hero in the sports car stakes in one stroke, I am impressed!

What they have demonstrated though that no matter where technology is leading us, the principles and basics of a great fun car (simple, light weight, great chassis, rear drive and low centre of gravity) will always remain.

It's not all plain sailing of course. With the now though £28000 price tag, this is going to make for an interesting comparison to a decent used Cayman now, unless you need the rear seats of course.

Welcome back Toyota.

I did have a feeling that they weren't going to let themselves in any way do a hash of this, and it seems I was right - partially. While it seems to be quite a good car in isolation and Toyota deserve credit (although remember that they do have quite a lot of funds and they weren't doing this on their own - they have a racing division (TRD) and were doing the project jointly with Subaru - although to what extent they influenced the overall package, in terms of the engineering, I don't know ), it's way too expensive.

If their aim was to make a back-to-basics, cheap and simple vehicle and/or if they wanted to make a vehicle to lure back younger buyers I'm afraid they've failed at this price tag. I mean, you can buy an Audi A5 or BMW 3-Series Coupe, both with 2.0-litre engines, for roughly the same price - and although both have slightly less power, they have more torque, are more economical and are probably better all-rounders, particularly the BMW.

And actually, the GT-86 should be compared with the 1-Series Coupe - with 30k (just 2k more than the estimated price of the Toyota), you can buy a 135i with 302bhp, 295lb/ft of torque and 0-60 in 5.3secs, and I never heard it was a boring thing to drive either. Not to mention you can get a 4-year old Cayman for under 20k...

 

- Follow your own star -

Re: Toyota GT 86

2 years 44 weeks ago

Agree that 28k makes it an instant fail. It needed to be sub 25 k at least. The accountants got hold of the pricing strategy and will kill it. Expect it to ba a rare sight on uk roads.

Re: Toyota GT 86

2 years 44 weeks ago

PhilM4000 wrote:
Agree that 28k makes it an instant fail. It needed to be sub 25 k at least.
Everyone seems to be commenting on the price - at £28,000 it is way too much; apart from anything else how many of their "young" target customer can afford that sort of money these days to say nothing of the likely insurance costa for a "young" person ! Having said that, it is good to see that Toyota still have the ability to produce an exciting car, comparisons with a Cayman can't be bad. It will be interesting to see what it drives like in final form on British roads. Also to see what the Subaru version is like. I guess that that will be priced similarly to avoid one brand undercutting the other.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

Re: Toyota GT 86

2 years 44 weeks ago

This won't be a popular view on here, but I think its the engine that lets it down on both price and the performance. The 2.0 boxer unit is a dinosaur now and they spent a fortune re-designing the top end to get 200bhp from it. You can't see this lump being found in any other Toyota models. I think they should have developed a 1.6 turbo that could have been used elsewhere, even with the hybrids like everyone else is doing. Other than that cracking driver focused car. Don't think it will sell that well, sadly.

Re: Toyota GT 86

2 years 44 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:
as cosseting as a Porsche’s, albeit not trimmed to the same standard
Oh well, that's it then. I'm not going to buy one now.
Autocar wrote:
big-selling but ultimately bland models
Whoops, though that was VW's job? Oh no, that's "timeless and classic design" isn't it. (Sorry, out of bed wrong side this morning).

  • Let depreciation be your friend...

Re: Toyota GT 86

2 years 44 weeks ago

Smurf Yeah wrote:
This won't be a popular view on here, but I think its the engine that lets it down on both price and the performance. The 2.0 boxer unit is a dinosaur now and they spent a fortune re-designing the top end to get 200bhp from it. You can't see this lump being found in any other Toyota models. I think they should have developed a 1.6 turbo that could have been used elsewhere, even with the hybrids like everyone else is doing

your are right, i dont agree. i think i high revving normally aspirated engine is almost as important to this car as its rwd set up, and lsd. As for being a boxer, well at least it allows a lower centre of gravity and a bonet line not spoiled by pedestrian impact regs. what other recent cars can that be said of?

But of course the real killer is price, and on that i am in comlete agreement

Re: Toyota GT 86

2 years 44 weeks ago

not sure about the a5 as i don't recall them having a normally aspirated 2.0 (correct me if i'm wrong) but the 320i is the worst bmw ever made. the 320i coupe just highlights it more clearly how bad it is when your car is a ricer. yes you can get the 135i for 30k but adding on to the specs and you are looking at 40k easily. as for the cayman, it is a tad bit unfair to compare that to the gt/ft/whatever 86 as one is a mid engine car and another is front engined. to be honest, i'd like the looks of the toyota much more than the porsche which can never really shake off its curse of being the poor man's porsche. besides that, the toyota seats 4 and should have a bigger boot (unless its filled with lithium ion batteries)

Re: Toyota GT 86

2 years 43 weeks ago

It just goes to show that the automotive industry is still pumping out a few fantastic driver machines at a relatively low cost.

Re: Toyota GT 86

2 years 43 weeks ago

Too slow for the price, or too expensive for the performance. One or the other anyway.

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Our Verdict

This light, uncomplicated coupé promises so much. Can the Toyota GT86 deliver?

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