“We’re putting a tremendous amount of effort into finessing this car,” Duncan McMath, a senior Toyota engineer of 14 years’ standing, who has driven Toyota FT-86 prototypes extensively during their development in Europe and spends his weekends building 700bhp racing cars, told me.
“We know this car has to deliver, if we are ever going to change people’s opinions about how Toyotas drive. The mission is to rekindle the spirit of the old rear-drive Corolla people remember so fondly, without removing the practicality today’s owners need, which will encourage them to use the car every day. There’s still work to do, but I believe we’ve achieved a lot.
“We’ve develop the steering to give a near-instant response. And because of this, and the excellent weight distribution, the car is very, very adjustable when cornering.
T"he effort builds up nicely through the wheel as you go harder. We think we’ve got the initial cornering roll just right, so the car feels very responsive on turn-in, and it tucks in nicely when you lift off, too.
“The other thing is the body control. We’ve been very careful with the damping, so the car stays flat and just soaks up the bumps. There’s very little bounce, even on poor surfaces, which should help in the UK. With this suspension, the great driving position, the lightness and the throb of that flat four, I think people might reckon we’ve built something pretty good.”