What is it?
An automatic version of the new Toyota GT86 coupé. It’s available as a £1500 option over the standard six-speed manual gearbox. Installing an automatic in a car that’s all about the driving may seem odd, but this paddle-shifter exchanges ratios in a fifth of a second, and synchs with engine management that flaunts rev-matching blips during downshifts.
What's it like?
On tight, twisting roads you’ll struggle to match the speed of the auto’s gearshifts aboard the manual. And though the flat-four loses some urge to the torque converter, it unexpectedly returns superior economy and emission figures superior to the manual’s.
The reasons for this oddity emerge as you shift from third to fourth, a fast-sinking tacho needle proof of this auto’s wide spaced upper ratios. Because the ‘box is hooked to an engine delivering less-than-generous torque – and late in the day – the result is a sports car that’s more swift than rapid.
That’s a bit of a disappointment from this otherwise painstakingly polished driving tool, the GT 86’s dynamic repertoire hugely accomplished and better still, hugely entertaining too.
That applies on road and track, the Toyota’s ride pliant enough to leave its supremely able chassis untroubled by lumps and bumps, its fine balance, faithful turn-in, decent roll control and precision steering preserved intact.