With seven clear grand between them, this pair of coupé are not, perhaps, the easiest bedfellows.
But while they’re separated by the difference between £24,995 (Toyota GT86) and £31,995 (Peugeot RCZ-R), what binds them here is that they’re the sharpest-driving sensible coupé that sensible money can buy.
Both cars we already know well. Both, as it happens, are part of Autocar’s long-term fleet. The Peugeot sports an impressive 266bhp from its relatively diminutive 1.6-litre engine, thanks to a headily blown turbocharger that also lifts torque as high as 225lb ft, developed as low as 1900rpm.
If that sounds like rather a lot to put through the front wheels, be content in the knowledge that there is a limited-slip differential to help things along.
The Toyota does less with more. It has a full 2.0 litres, but because it is unblown it makes ‘only’ 197bhp, and then at a heady 7000rpm. You want peak torque? You’ll get it, but only if you rev it to 6400rpm, and then there is merely 151lb ft of it.
But, then, the GT86 is a car that weighs a claimed 1275kg; the Peugeot weighs 1355kg. Still, performance advantage goes to the Peugeot, which can reach 62mph in 6.1sec to the Toyota’s 7.6, despite the fact that the Toyota should also have a distinct traction advantage, being as it is rear-driven, also with a limited-slip differential. Enough stats, though.
You and I know well enough that figures and numbers do not equate to driving pleasure.
Cabin ambience is also immeasurable by numbers and the Peugeot has an advantage in both the quality of its materials and their appearance and design – that seven grand has to come from somewhere. But the Toyota has, to our bums, a superior driving position; it's low slung, straight and relaxed.