DRIVEN: TOYOTA GT86
Enough concepts, hype, teasers and videos - what's the Toyota GT86 actually like to drive? PistonHeads finds out...
So there's no turbo here, and drive goes solely to the rear wheels. The 1,998cc engine has a high 12.5:1 compression ratio and both direct and indirect injection, to produce 200bhp at 7,000rpm and 152lb ft of torque at 6,600rpm. Front suspension is by struts, rear by double wishbones and there's a Torsen limited-slip diff.
And that's broadly it, simple, pure and loosely based on a latest-model Subaru Impreza platform but with bespoke suspension geometry and settings. You can have a six-speed auto if you must - it's a torque-converter 'box, with snappy paddle-shifts by a system similar to that of the Lexus IS F - but why would you not want the six-speed manual?
You sit low in the GT86, helping towards a centre of gravity said to be lower than a Cayman's. I press the start button, snick into first gear and head onto the sinuous, three-dimensional and threateningly wet track. Straight away the GT feels taut, keen, lighter than its 1,200kg. The engine has a sharp, crackly beat from within, somewhere between an Impreza and an Alfasud but without the deep throb of a traditional breathed-on Subaru.
Here's a fast, downhill right. Traction and stability systems are off. The front wheels are washing slightly wide under gentle power, but in the best rear-drive fashion I can squeeze the accelerator a little harder and feel the tail edge out to match. Now the GT is balanced perfectly through the long curve, right foot the arbiter of the line, then I can nail it at the exit and let the engine rev out before snicking into the next gear.
It's not what you've got...
It's not a massively potent engine, and its low-end response is crisp rather than muscular, but the power build-up is very progressive and easily, instantly metered. Here lies part of the secret of the way you can control the GT 86 so sensitively. Along with the steering's precision and similar linearity of response are balance and a lack of roll that comes with the low centre of gravity. Powerslides are yours for the asking, recovering them could hardly be easier. The gearchange is quick and easy, too, and the brakes match the other controls for progression.
new Porsche 911's EPAS is this good.
Some stats, not yet set in stone but close to it. Top speed is around 143mph. From a standstill to 62mph takes a little under seven seconds. Official 'combined' mpg is about 42 with CO2 under 160g/km. The GT86 is plenty fast enough and won't destroy the planet.
It also looks good, if very similar to the BRZ outside and in apart from the front air intake. There are shades of Toyota's 1960s 2000 GT in the glasshouse, one of three influences Toyota likes to cite (the others being the rear-drive, 16-valve Corolla Twin-Cam AE86 and a little 800cc flat-four, rear-drive sports car that I'd never heard of, known as Yotahachi. There are small rear seats but Yoshi Sasaki hopes they'll be more often be folded down to accommodate a set of trackday wheels.
UK sales start in June, at around £25,000. Place your order now.
Engine: 2.0-litre flat-4
Power (hp): 200
Torque (lb ft): 151
0-62mph: 7.0 sec*
Top speed: 143mph*
MPG: 42mpg* (NEDC combined)
Price: c. £25,000
*All figures provisional