Review: Toyota GT86By Chris Walsh
November 26, 2012
The new GT86 is Toyota’s keenly anticipated ‘driver-focused’ sports car.
So, being the ‘driver-focused’ driver that I am, I’m gonna like it right? Not necessarily.
As for starters,the amount of hype I have to wade though, just to get to the damn car, has already put me
Having said that, my guard then totally drops once I’ve lowered myself into the very low and very snug bucket seats.
Things are certainly looking up. Instantly, you can tell that the driving position, layout, ergonomics and function of every element the driver interacts with, has been scrutinised to make the car feel as natural, instinctive and rewarding as possible.
When you do finally get going, the front MacPherson struts and double wishbone rear suspension really get to work.
They are tuned perfectly for instant response to driver input, with a direct handling feel, sharp response and superb controllability – the most critical part of the car you might say.
I hate to get all geeky on you here but the 23N/mm front spring rates allow for slightbody roll on initial turn-in, creating the kind of perfect relationship between steering feel and vehicle behaviour that is exhibited by most classic front-engine/rear-drive cars.
The rear double wishbone suspension also delivers an informative combination of stability, grip and driver feedback.
It too, has stiffer mounting points, as well as a newly designed subframe, shock absorbers, coil springs, lower arm, stabiliser and trailing link.
In combining Subaru’s newly developed boxer engine with Toyota’s latest fuel injection system, the result is the world’s first horizontally opposed engine with D-4S (direct injection 4-stroke) technology.
However, Toyota’s reluctance to use turbocharging still presented a considerable engineering challenge, as no naturally aspirated, direct fuel injection engine that could rev to 7,400rpm had ever existed before the development of GT86.
And the result is a near perfect example of what can be achieved when two parties work together for the greater good of the world.
I say near perfect because there is one gripe I have to raise about the GT86.
It’s not powerful enough.
For a car that weighs just 1,200kg and delivers 197bhp through the rear wheels, it is shockingly slow, especially when you consider the lengths and depths the engineers have gone into making this, apparently, the perfect driver’s car.
No doubt, I’ve upset the odd purist with such a casual throwaway remark but thereyou go.
I expected my drive to be almost spiritual in terms of pleasure, like I was driving anold friend or a distant boy-hood memory but every time I planted my right foot the lack of anything gave me a very rude awakening.
The GT86 is offered in a single specification in the UK, with a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. On-the-road prices are around £25,000 for the manual and £26,500 for the automatic.
Model: Toyota GT86
Price From: £24,995
0-62: 7.6 seconds
CO2 emission: 181g/km
2010/2011 VED: £215pa (1st Year £325)