Toyota GT86 Pro review
The recent torrential rain did not stop Lincolnshire Life from test driving the Toyota GT86 – indeed it brought some sunshine and admiring looks when it was photographed in the Cathedral Quarter.
The heritage of the GT86 can be traced back to the 2000GT, Toyota’s classic front engine, rear-drive sports car – and it’s just as soul-stirring as that ever was. The GT86 has been around since 2012 and underwent some revisions in 2018 which included a few styling tweaks and some suspension setting changes. There’s no turbo, but it still kicks like a mule, making the brand with the three-oval logo more engaging than ever.
Zero to 62mph in 7.6 seconds doesn’t sound much compared with supercars, but I assure you it’s quick enough in this 2+2 coupé. The top end is only 140mph, but where are you going to do that legally in the UK anyway? These figures aren’t important – it’s all about the feel of the car, and the sense you experience behind its wheel is one of undiluted happiness.
The GT86 puts a smile on your face the moment you slide into the sporty driver’s seat and wrap your hands around the chunky steering wheel. The upturned corners of your mouth transform into an out-and-out grin when you engage first gear using the stubby little gear stick and set off on your ‘Grand Tour’.
The Toyota has a very low centre of gravity, so it’ll take corners as though it’s welded to the line. Okay, the tail will twitch in the wet – so caution is advised, but that makes it all the more challenging. After all, this car is about the journey – not the destination.
The GT86 is affordable too. At around £30,000 it’s something you’ll realistically be able to save up for. And when you get it on your drive, you won’t stop polishing it. I even gave my test car a shine after it stopped raining. Why? Well, it looked so good it just had to be kept gleaming.
When you finish your trip in the Toyota, you feel as though you’ve had a workout – in a positive kind of way. The GT86 has an excellent power-to-weight ratio, and it demands to be worked hard. You need to have your eye on the ball at all times, though, as the steering is so sensitive that it’s easy to wander over the white line if you’re momentarily distracted. There’s no piloting this coupé with one hand on the steering wheel – it’s a car that needs to be harnessed.
Under the bonnet lurks a 2.0-litre flat-four boxer engine hooked up to a six-speed manual gearbox. It churns out 200PS at 7,000rpm which, blended with the ‘86’s exquisite stability, makes it one of the most compelling sports car’s money can buy.
Be prepared for people to look at you, too. I was asked by one person what I was driving but drew comments from those much more familiar with the car. Sometimes I wonder if folks can read – the coupé clearly has GT86 emblazoned all over it. But certainly interest is being shown – and that’s got to be a good sign for Toyota.