Toyota GT86 review - price, specs and 0-60 time

Hunter Skipworth
6 May 2015

Inexpensive rear wheel drive thrills

Evo Rating: 
Great chassis and handling, driving position and value for money
Cheap interior, engine needs more poke, tyres could have more grip

evo Verdict

Ask yourself this: What do I really need from a car in order to be able to enjoy it on the road? If the answer is leather seats and a good sound system, then the GT86 isn’t for you.

If however all that matters to you is three pedals, great steering and a sweetly-balanced chassis, the GT86 is the answer.

This is not a car that makes good first impressions. The car's infotainment system is at the budget end of the spectrum and the rest of the interior even more so, while the engine feels and sounds industrial at low speeds. All of this however fades into the background the moment you get the GT86 on a good B road.

The steering accuracy and control weights are ideally judged, while the boxer engine's 197bhp output and skinny mean the GT86 always feels playful. Crucially, in the world of 300-horsepower hatchbacks, it’s also a car you can enjoy on public roads without fear of losing your licence.

Rarely does something in the motoring world feel ‘just right’ and while the GT86 isn’t without its issues, it comes very close. The 0-60 sprint doesn’t feel that quick, but to compensate you spend a lot of time in the GT86 with your foot flat to the floor, a rarity in modern performance cars. It's satisfying to feel like you're using the car's full potential.

Low speed refinement is well behind modern hot hatches the ride is firm, but build up speed and pliancy improves, while the noise becomes a backdrop to enthusiastic driving rather than a constant annoyance.

And as the GT86's price drops ever further - entry-level models now begin at £22,700 before dealer incentives - the inexpensive driving thrills of the GT86 look ever more appealing.

evo Tip

There's little point going for one of the range topping GT86 models as mechanically, they're identical to those costing thousands less. We'd be tempted to spend the balance on aftermarket tuning modifications to rectify a few of the car's less appealing aspects.

The GT86 can be transformed with the likes of a supercharger, and while the standard Michelin Primacy tyres are aimed at lowering the car's limits, they do limit its fun factor too. Thankfully, there are plenty of options available to boost grip and feel.

evo Comment

The GT86 represents a back to basics rear wheel drive sports car. Like a beefier MX-5 but with a roof, it offers all the thrills you could need for the cash.

Some may shun GT86's basic approach, particularly given the low-rent appearance of the interior, but look beyond such superficial concerns and driving pleasure lies ahead.

It's also worth nothing that the Subaru BRZ is a near identical car to the GT86, albeit a slightly rarer one on the streets.

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