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2012 Toyota GT86 review

  • Toyota GT86 coupe driven in UK
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The Toyota GT86 is a lightweight rear-wheel-drive coupe, and the result of an alliance between Toyota and Subaru that has also spawned the Subaru BRZ.

What's the 2012 Toyota GT86 like to drive?
Power comes from a 2.0-litre, flat-four engine, much like the ones that dazzled generations of Impreza fans. Unlike those hot Imprezas, however, the GT86 doesn't have a turbocharger to give it devastating mid-range shove.

Instead, the GT86's engine produces a rather weedy 197bhp, and that power is stacked right at the top end of the rev range.

The engine feels decidedly flat below 4000rpm, so you have to whip it mercilessly to make decent progress.

Toyota GT86 - a car that has to be revved hard

There's an increasingly deep resonance from the twin big-bore exhausts as you approach the redline, which lets you know it's time to change up using the short-throw gearstick, before you slam down the accelerator again.

If you think that sounds like fun, then the handling will make you laugh out loud.

On a fast flowing road, the suspension strikes a nice balance between comfort and control, and the car changes direction smoothly and accurately thanks to its low weight, low centre of gravity and sweet steering.

Then if you switch the traction control off to explore further, things really become interesting. Tip the GT86 into a corner, get the engine singing and if you are pretty heavy-footed you'll be staring at the road-ahead through the side window.

With so little grip from the rear tyres Toyota actively chose to fit the same low-rolling-resistance tyres that it does to the Prius you really need to be careful to avoid unruly tyre squeal when pulling out of junctions.

Those tyres can also cause problems when you come to scrub off speed, because standing on the brakes brings the anti-lock system into play surprisingly early.

If that weren't enough to grab your attention then the cacophony of road and wind noise are guaranteed to keep you awake.


Wind and road noise are all-too apparent in GT86

What's the 2012 Toyota GT86 like inside?
Pretty low-rent. The GT86's cabin is filled with robust but ultimately cheap-feeling plastics. Most of the switchgear will be familiar to Toyota owners, although a bank of toggle switches gives the dash a bit of a lift.

Unfortunately, the touch-screen infotainment system is tricky to use because the menus are confusing and the on-screen icons too small. What's more, the analogue radio struggles to hold stations.

At least the low-slung driving position is just right, thanks to well-placed pedals, a chunky sports steering wheel and supportive sports seats.


Spot-on driving position thanks to low-slung seats

There's plenty of space in the front of the GT86, but the back seats are next to useless. Head- and legroom are way too tight for an adult passenger, and foot space is even worse.

You're better off using these seats as extra luggage space, but you shouldn't need to very often; the boot is a decent size at 243 litres.

Should I buy one?
It depends on your point of view really. The GT86 is flawed in so many ways, but ultimately it's fun, and in an increasingly grey world, that's got to be a good thing.


You'll have a lot of fun in a Toyota GT86, but rivals from Audi and Renault could offer better all-round package

Of course, for the same sort of money you could buy the sophisticated Audi TT, or if you fancy something a good deal more focused and a good deal quicker, the GT86 wouldn't see which way a Megane Renaultsport went.

Read the full What Car? Toyota GT86 review

Rivals:
[Audi TT
Renault Megane Renaultsport Cup

What Car? says

Pete Tullin]( https://www.whatcar.com/car-reviews/audi/tt-coupe/summary/25587-4 )