Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ: PH Buying Guide

As joint ventures go, the development of the Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT86 pair was very one-sided, with Subaru doing most of the heavy lifting to get the car ready for production. The reasons for that were down to Toyota being at full production capacity yet still wanting a 2+2 coupe that was fun to drive. Having a stake in Subaru, a solution was at hand.

This is a BRZ, in case you hadn't guessed
This is a BRZ, in case you hadn't guessed
It also helped the smaller Japanese firm had its FA20 2.0-litre boxer four-cylinder engine - an evolution of the EJ20, with Toyota D4-S direct injection - at the ready. Mounted 12cm lower and 24cm further back in its chassis than the EJ20 in an Impreza, there's no question this was a car aimed at keen drivers.

With 200hp delivered at 7,000rpm and peak torque of 151lb ft at 6,400rpm, this was a motor that demanded to be worked hard but revved quickly. In full flight it takes 7.7 seconds to get from rest to 62mph, and top speed is 140mph for the six-speed manual gearbox model. A six ratio auto transmission is another option.

One of the defining features of the BRZ/GT86 is its tyre choice. Fitted with Michelin Primacy tyres, grip levels were deliberately set lower than other comparable coupes. The reason was to make the rear-drive Subaru/Toyota more fun at lower speeds and it proved an instant hit with most road testers and customers alike.

In 2013, Toyota launched a limited edition of 250 TRD (Toyota Racing Development) models with 18-inch TF6 alloy wheels, body kit and freer flowing exhaust, though performance was unchanged. This reflected the tuning culture that was fast growing around these models, which continues today.

Well yes, plenty to discuss here
Well yes, plenty to discuss here
A mild update in mid-2014 was followed by more improvements in mid-2015, but it wasn't until the start of 2017 that real upgrades were introduced with more low-end power to further improve day to day driving.

Regardless of whether you choose the Subaru BRZ or Toyota GT86, both cost from around £12,000 for early cars with reasonable mileages and full service records. That makes them a good bet for everyday duties and weekend blasts, and plenty are also used for track days.

Toyotas outnumber Subarus by about five to one on the used market, but the choicebetween them is mostly down to personal badge preference. Back in 2012 PH compared the two if you really need to know the differences!

PHer's view:
"These cars deal with everyday driver really well and the supposed lack of performance just isn't an issue."
Martin Wrigley

Buying Guide contents:
Rolling chassis
At a glance

Search for Toyota GT86s in the PH classifieds
Search for Subaru BRZs in the PH classifieds



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Comments (66) Join the discussion on the forum

  • angelicupstarts 25 Apr 2017

    Just walked past a black one outside work , did the double look .
    I think these are ageing very nicely

  • sandman77 25 Apr 2017

    Still worth 50% of their original price after 5 years. I wonder why lease deals were always so expensive on these.

  • spikyone 25 Apr 2017

    sandman77 said:
    Still worth 50% of their original price after 5 years. I wonder why lease deals were always so expensive on these.
    Yes, residuals are bizarrely strong, and the finance deals (much like the car itself) are the anti-BMW. My GFV is something like £11k at three years, and that was with most of the options ticked - not that there are many.

    Article said:
    it wasn't until the start of 2017 that real upgrades were introduced with more low-end power to further improve day to day driving.
    I don't believe that's true. Even PH's own news story on the facelift model said that there were no power changes. Everywhere outside Europe got them, but they didn't meet Euro 6 emissions so the original performance is unchanged.
    There were other changes for the facelift car; revisions to the suspension and additional welding at the rear of the car, but whether you'd notice those unless you're Chris Harris and driving it back to back with the original version is another matter.

    To add to the ownership experience - it really is great fun. There's a camaraderie between owners; virtually every other 86/BRZ driver you see will give you a wave and a smile. There's an owner's club and a driver's club in the UK, both of which have a wealth of knowledge on the car, tuning options, and common faults, and they organise frequent meets, including one at Toyota GB in Epsom last year attended by almost 50 cars.

  • Composite Guru 25 Apr 2017

    I'm swaying towards getting one of these but was a bit put off by the future value set by Toyota on the finance agreement.

  • Coldfuse 25 Apr 2017

    Prices are so strong for these still, cannot believe that they are still commanding almost 13K for a 2012 model.

    I've always wanted one to run as my daily car, but at these sort of prices i am still umming and arring about it, looking at hard top NC MX5's instead.

    What the likelyhood of pulling the trigger on one of these and the value being similar in a few years.

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