RAC Cars News


Toyota GT 86 - Mini Review

By raccars Published

Toyota allied with Subaru to produce the GT 86, a sports car designed to a classic brief, that might have been drawn up in the 1960s. While the technology and engineering are thoroughly modern, the spirit and joie de vivre of this sports coupe are likely to spark off a nostalgia trip in many.

This two-door, 2+2 seater is unashamedly fun, but has been given some practical touches to keep it up to date and relevant in the current day auto market – think ISOFIX mounting points to the rear seats, a generous boot and folding rear seats.

None of that detracts from the fact that this car is all about the driving experience. A growling, flat four 2.0 litre engine built with a Subaru block and Toyota cylinder heads, returns 197bhp up to 7000rpm, with a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. Statistics might be misleading here, listing the GT 86 as having a 0-62mph speed of 7.7 seconds, on the way to a 140mph top speed – quite miserly for a supposedly performance vehicle weighing only 1180kg, but the GT 86 is all about the handling.

In fact, with its rear-wheel drive, limited slip diff. and low centre of gravity, it's so entertaining to throw this beast around corners that it makes straight line speed seekers look dull. Add steering that reaches lock to lock within 2.5 turns and full ESP deactivation and you might never want to drive another car, ever again.

In style terms, the GT 86 neatly straddles the line between classic and modern. Apparently, the designers kept a 2000GT from the 1960s to hand during the design process, for motivation. The result may be too conservative for some, but there are racier body styling options available. Subaru's version of the same is slightly bolder if desired.

The cabin is very driver-centric with a quite masculine aesthetic, but is well-enough equipped with comfort, safety and convenience features to satisfy modern appetites.

With all its undoubted driving pleasure and good looks, it's the pricing that makes strong sales a sure thing for the GT 86. Starting at £25,000, this is a cheaper way to get your kicks than rival manufacturers' offerings, like Peugeot's RCZ THP 200 GT or the VW Scirocco R. Add the legendary Toyota reliability, rewarding fuel economy figures and the current cultural obsession with all things retro and it seems the GT 86 can't fail.

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