When the Toyota GT 86 was first mooted petrolheads all over the world had to sit down and hide their joy under a cushion. Toyota was going to return to the RWD sports car scene with an affordable, fun motor. Much like the MR2 used to be before it started doing a frog impression.
Toyo was going to hook up with Subaru to create the ultimate mix of Japanese fun. Subaru would donate the Boxer engine and Toyota the RWD knowhow. Together they’d rule the galaxy as father and so… no, wait, that’s Star Wars.
The merger would give both firms a product to be proud of — Subaru, with the BRZ, would enter the RWD market; Toyota would be back on form.
Today we’ll be concentrating on the Toyota.
It’s a looker, that’s for sure. It looks like a proper sports car should — vaguely phallic, with a hint of approachability. You don’t look at it and immediately assume a tosser holds the keys. Inside it’s all sports car: lots of racy fonts, tactile plastics, sculpted seats up front and chairs only suitable for weebl wobbles and shopping in the back. It’s pretty cool and doesn’t look like it’ll date too badly. The rimless rear view mirror is pretty cool, too.
To drive, it was certainly worth all the excitement. Its 2.0-litre Boxer engine pumps out a relatively meagre 197bhp, but that’s enough to get you going at a fair lick. You can also easily play with the back end if you’re that way inclined.
Bends are no problem for the GT 86 — its chassis is perfectly suited to being flung into a bend and keeping you there. You’ll be flattered by its handling, charmed at times. It feels light, nimble, quick… and many other words which can be translated to ‘awesome’.
What’s all the fuss about? Toyota’s brought the sports car back, that’s what. And it’s better than ever.