What is it?
Perhaps more than anything, what the new Toyota GT86 demonstrates is that what car enthusiasts think still matters – because if it didn’t, Toyota would never have built this brilliant car in the first place.
When the board sat down to discuss the project at the beginning of 2007, the idea would have been dismissed in a heartbeat had the opposite been the case. Instead, though, Toyota decided there and then to exact an image makeover in order to appeal to a younger kind of customer – and the GT86 was designated to spearhead that renaissance.
The result is now almost upon us. We’ve driven the car in prototype form twice already and declared it to be bursting with potential. And here, again, we drive it in its virtually finished specification, ahead of its scheduled UK on-sale date of June.
Being an enthusiast, you’ll already know that the car is a joint venture between Subaru and Toyota, and that it has a 2.0-litre boxer engine beneath the bonnet, with 197bhp and 151lb ft on tap. You’ll know, too, that the car is rear-wheel drive, has a six-speed manual or semi-automatic gearbox, and that it weighs a mere 1220kg.
What’s it like?
But what you might not realise is how perfectly these elements gel to deliver a driving experience that is addictive, to put it mildly. Because, after all, nothing can prepare you for just how pure the GT86 is to drive; how sweetly it steers, how well balanced its chassis is near the limit, how crisply its brakes respond, or how incisive it feels when snapping from one direction to another.