The Toyota GT86: Sporty, stylish and truly unforgettable
JOE's Oisín Collins was the first motoring journalist in Ireland to get his hands on the all-new Toyota GT86. We're not sure how he managed to get it first, but here's how he got on.
If you’re looking for a car that will have you smiling from the moment you clamber in until the moment you struggle your way out then you’re sure to love the GT86.
Purpose built sports cars are a bit of a rarity these days. Gone are the 350Zs, the Skylines and the Levins, because more and more people are sacrificing pure driving pleasure for more environmental purposes – which is beneficial in the long run, but that’s a different argument for a different day. So it’s good to see a new ‘driver's car’ finally rolling off the forecourts.
In essence, the GT86 is a pure driver’s car. Its performance is next to none and the feeling of enjoyment that you get from tearing around in a gorgeous sports car like the GT86 is somewhat indescribable. We’re all used to hooning around in top-end cars on Forza and Gran Turismo, but actually getting into one of the cars that you idolise on the TV screen is an experience in itself.
As soon as you clamber into the GT86 – it’s fairly low down by the way – you notice how driver centric the car is. The handbrake is nice and close to the driver's side, which seriously helps when you’re trying to kick the backend out and the gearbox has a super short shift, which makes changing gears much quicker and easier. The centre console isn’t cluttered with loads of bells and whistles, so it’s easy to keep your eyes on the road. Having said that, the car comes with pretty much everything you could want as standard, apart from GPS, which is extra.
Sadly, we couldn’t pick the lock at the Mondello International Race Circuit, but the road handling ability of the car can only be described as ‘video game accurate’. As soon as you point the steering wheel in a new direction the car doesn’t think twice before heading where you tell it. Although the GT86 comes with the same tyres that Toyota put on the Prius, they still make the car stick to the road as if you were driving through a sea of glue. As for the brakes, they’re seriously good at their job.
Not a single flaw
I couldn’t find a single flaw with the GT86 until my girlfriend informed me that the red stitching on the bucket seats clashed with the car’s exterior metallic orange paint job. However, she was then met with swift, “get out” and that ended that.
Visually, the exterior of the car is absolutely stunning and you’ll definitely find yourself walking laps around the car as you appreciate its aesthetics. On the outside, the GT86 comes with 17" alloy wheels, dual exhaust pipes with chrome exhaust finishers, a door courtesy lamp, a door scuff plate, LED daytime running lights and a rear spoiler just to name a few components.
Inside you’ll find a 3-spoke leather steering wheel, four seats, aluminium pedals, a 6-speaker CD player, a black fabric with red stitching interior, carbon fibre trimmings, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, knee airbags for the driver and a Smart Entry system.
The GT86’s 2L, flat four, 200bhp engine looks and sounds absolutely beastly, but the one downside is that you’ll have to fork over €600 in tax every year. In fairness, that’s a small price to pay for the pure pleasure you will receive from driving this beautiful machine and in reality, for a car of it’s size and speed, the tax could have been a whole lot higher.
A brand spanking new GT86 will set you back €39,895, which is a bit pricy for the everyday driver, but if you’ve got the cash to burn and you’re no stranger to the race track then this is without a doubt the car for you. If you’re looking to bring the wife and the kids down to the park for a Sunday stroll then you might want something that has at least three seats in the back…