Friday, 30 March 2012 4:02 PM
It seems that the PR-mill has been churning forever with teaser pics and drip-feed detail releases for the Toyota GT86; the new front-engine, rear-driving “driver’s car” from Toyota. It’s their big deal to earn some love back from the enthusiasts – some love they seem to have lost recently with the odd uninspiring, if ultimately practical model or two. Hence the hark-back name referring to the super-fab AE86 Corolla of days gone by.
The old AE86 is a rare treat these days, but imagine a 1600cc Yamaha-developed screamer of an engine in a lightweight, easy-pivot chassis that feels about as connected to a car as a driver can get. I learnt to do donuts in one many years ago in Ireland where the cars have legendary status. It remains to be seen if the new GT86 is as enduring and loveable.
So now, at last, we know the full official prices and specs of the new GT86 that we can order from dealers now, with first customer deliveries rolling onto driveways on July 1st. And while it gets more power than the old AE86 Corolla – 200-new-bhp versus 120-old-bhp – it’ll be a fair bit heavier thanks to those pesky modern safety regulations.
For £24,995 you can have the 6-speed manual gearbox GT86; for £26,495 there’s a 6-speed auto on offer. Both cars get a 2-litre, 4-cylinder boxer engine – made famous by GT86 co-developer, Subaru – that’s good for 200bhp. The motor is mounted up front and low in the chassis with GT86 engineers looking for low body roll and poised chassis balance.
Standard kit on the new GT86 includes a limited slip rear differential (for the aforementioned donuts), dual-zone climate control, sporty sports seats, bi-xenon headlights and 17-inch alloys, while options include the Toyota Touch and Go multimedia touchscreen system with satellite navigation, and leather and Alcantara upholstery for that softer touch.
It’s probably a little more expensive than some would’ve hoped but initial word is favourable, so if you’ve got the dosh and want to steer from the rear, the new GT86 has got to be worth a test drive.
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