Wednesday 8th February 2012

GT 86 FOR £16K...

...but only if you live in Japan, home of the true purist-spec version complete with steelies and unpainted bumpers

Back at the launch of the Toyota GT 86 last year, chief engineer Tetsuya Tada said he “wanted to go back to basics."

Next step up gets - gasp! - alloy wheels
Next step up gets - gasp! - alloy wheels
Now we know exactly what he meant. Pistonheads has uncovered the cheapest 86 model sold in Japan and discovered exactly why it’s almost £10,000 less than the UK version.

True purists will be thrilled. While people who thought they were purists might waver when they read the list of missing kit from the RC model, the cheapest of four versions on sale from April.

No cupholders is a good start, and no air con a necessary sacrifice for weight loss. Who needs front fogs anyway, and you can live without a boot lamp, or indeed an intake manifold cover. Plastic covering for the steering wheel and gear shifter isn’t ideal, but man-made materials have come on a long way since its forebear, the Corolla AE86. But no stereo, or indeed any speakers could be a stretch too far.

'Red bits' feature on the GT model
'Red bits' feature on the GT model
And when you take delivery, the wing mirrors, door handles and front and rear bumpers are in ‘foundation’, meaning they lack exterior paint finish.

But the biggest omission is our favourite. No alloys, but instead you ride on 16-inch steel wheels with 205/55 rubber, as opposed to 17-inch 215/45 tyres for the top-spec GT Limited.

All this slashes the price to just 1.9m Yen (£16,320). That’s compared to the £24,995 for the UK car when it arrives later in the year, the spec of which is much more in line with the JDM GT Limited (3m Yen), including 17-inch alloys, HID headlamps, LED running lights, dual-zone air con, aluminium pedals and cruise control.

According to the Japanese consumer website, the stripped back RC weighs 1,190kg compared to 1,230kg for the GT Limited, which is another reason not to go high spec. Disappointingly you do lose the limited slip diff.

JDM GT Limited equivalent to £25K UK spec
JDM GT Limited equivalent to £25K UK spec
However Toyota doesn’t expect Japanese buyers to stick to the showroom poverty spec. Customisation is the name of the game, and in the “spirit of the AE86”, according to the website, the personalisation starts with a bare-bones RC. But wouldn’t it be fun to keep it like that?

The alternative is the full-spec TRD (Toyota Racing Developments) makeover, revealed earlier this year in Tokyo, which included reworked suspension and 18-inch alloys. So, show off or purist? Let’s hope Toyota – and Subaru of course – expand the range so we get the choice here too.

Author: NickGibbs
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