Toyota GT86 coupe (2012) CAR review | Road Testing Reviews | Car Magazine Online

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Toyota GT 86 coupe

Toyota GT86 coupe CAR review

By Ben Barry


28 October 2011 10:55

On 20 May CAR was allowed behind the wheel of a FT-86 development mule to get our own impressions and to give feedback to engineers during a secretive session in Germany. Now, as the car is to be unveiled at the 2011 Tokyo show — badged — it’s time to all.

This was a pre-production but to read a CAR Magazine review of the productionToyota GT86, click .

Where does the Toyota name come from?

means Future Toyota, and is a given to Toyota concept The ‘86’ plays on the Toyota GT Coupe, the 1.6-litre DOHC, drive coupe that refer to by its AE86 chassis-code. The then, is that the FT-86 is a century AE86. Ditto the production iteration.

The FT-86 tag be dropped for production. At the time of our there was still a great of debate as to what the car would be The engineers were very on the AE86 link, while the thought that very few would know what symbolised – they preferred It is, however, likely that an 86 will appear in some

After we wrote this the GT86 name was confirmed.

the specification of the new Toyota GT86?

The key here is that Toyota is the GT86 in tandem with who will also sell the in much the same way that Toyota and Peugeot sell the So, this explains why the GT86 a Subaru 2.0-litre flat-four that produces around and 170lb ft. Unlike pretty everyone else these Toyota has shunned turbocharging, but the does benefit from D4S direct injection, which towards a C02 figure of around – a similarly powerful Renaultsport manages 190g/km.

The engine is up front, but low and relatively far back in the bay. It’s mated to a Aisin gearbox (as used by elsewhere), while a Torsen differential sits between the rear wheels. The overall distribution is 53/47% front to while the production car will around 1200kg.

The platform is developed, and I managed to put eight of my 11 footsteps between the front and wheelhubs, giving a wheelbase of 2400mm – similar dimensions to a hatchback.

Elsewhere, there’s MacPherson front suspension, and a double rear-end. Mitsubishi supplies the while test cars ran Sachs and Showa shock – we tested the Sachs set-up.

the Toyota GT86 like

You sit low down – lower than a Cayman, claim the engineers – and into a comfortable seat leather bolsters and grippy centres. The driving position is The FT-86 is strictly a 2+2: was no room whatsoever for my legs in the with a six-feet-tall driver in the

The rest of the interior was still camouflaged but we did see aluminum finishes on the climate control dials, a row of aluminium-topped switches. Toyota’s go’ is standard, but we couldn’t see the zip-up cover like on the concept forum watchers take

What’s the 2012 Toyota like to drive?

It’s fun. There’s fantastic response, quick, well steering and a nice firm pedal. Add little inputs to the when you’re driving in a line at speed and the front end immediately – no slop, no roll, just 100% obedient and

Clearly, it’s not a GT-R but that’s the whole point – the here is on dynamics you can explore at speeds. The flat-four zings and spins round the dial to at which point you get a flashing and a well-judged soft rev limiter – not a cut-out. Doesn’t sound like a flat-four though – this is intentional, as the flat-four is such a Subaru trademark.

The ratios are closely stacked, and to keep this modestly 2.0-litre spinning, but the ratios are chosen so as not to be tiresome: 60mph in gear brings up 2500rpm – high, yes, but not daft. The could be slicker, but the lever has an short throw.

Toyota GT 86 coupe

Even sliding it around, the GT86 is obviously rear-wheel drive: get to the in a second-gear corner and accelerate and you feel the back end point the back exactly where you it. It responds well to a really driving style. Shame the stability controls’ Sport was too intrusive, although Toyota’s said they had a less set-up that they also experimenting with.

It must be a blast to slide

Drifting is a huge part of the of the GT86, just as it continues to be for the Our car was fitted with 215/45 R17 Green X tyres all round – aka Prius tyres. This it laughably sideways in second the back end stepping out with mild – and sometimes almost no – For the average driver, this exploring the limits far easier in anything else currently on

However, at higher speeds I the balance less pleasing. In third-gear turns, for instance, the end feels too soft and errs understeer – it could be pointier, and more positive. Under the rear then comes but the GT86 is so short that transition can be very quick. Two then come into the first is the Torsen diff, is more refined in day-to-day but less precise than a differential when the rear are struggling for purchase, so the level of you have over the sliding end is compromised; the second point is the of power: adding power slides helps you to bring back under control, but in a GT86 you’re more in the of momentum than you are able to things with the throttle.

So the Toyota GT86’s a hooligan specialist?

At one point I found snapping into very oversteer, then suddenly back and making an out-of-control across the run-off area. My yes, but I’ve never had feeling in any other modern drive car, 911 GT3 included.

Is going to be an GT86 with power and a mechanical differential?

the flat-four would be straightforward all, that’s what does with the Impreza), but engineer Tetsuya Tada us that he ‘doesn’t like and has ‘decided to reject the numeric war’. He also said an R version of the GT86 was coming less weight, Brembo (our test car’s were from Hitachi), a a larger rear wing, no seats and, yes, a LSD but no more power.

And bear in that Toyota had invited us for our and that this was a fairly car – things will be tweaked for Our cars were still although pictures of the GT86 car have leaked out in recent

Other options are also on the a convertible is ‘possible’, while an gearbox is confirmed – it’s a unit based on the eight-speeder in the Lexus ISF.


The GT86 is great news for it’s affordable, frugal and practical. You also don’t to be a driving deity to explore its If anything, we’d adjust the on-limit balance (firmer end, more progressive into oversteer, tighter but that doesn’t undo the fact that this is a car, and one that trounces its rival, the Mazda MX-5, in the fun

Toyota GT 86 coupe
Toyota GT 86 coupe
Toyota GT 86 coupe

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