Mark Slack – Toyota GR86

Toyota GR86 – ultimately it works because of the driving experience

When you think of sportscars, sports coupes or any performance car come to that, then Toyota is probably not an obvious name that springs to mind. However, it deserves more prominence as a look at their back catalogue shows a rather decent smattering of performance Toyotas.

Think Supra, MR2, Celica, 2000GT and the Corolla Coupe GT, GT86 and right up to date with the latest Supra and arguably the GR Yaris. One of the most eminently sporting, and by today’s overly priced standards, particularly affordable GR86.

Priced from a whisker under £32,500 it comes with a horizontally opposed 4-cylinder, 2.4-litre, 16-valve that develops 231 bhp and passes the benchmark 62mph in just 6.3 seconds. That horizontally opposed engine design is courtesy of Subaru thanks to the joint venture that also created the Subaru BRZ, along with the GR86 predecessor the GT86. A 6-speed manual gearbox drives the rear wheels, there is an auto transmission option but you really wouldn’t want it in this proper old school sports coupe.

The GR86 is a handsome looking machine and while in my care attracted admiring comment from all who saw it. Sadly you’ll struggle to find one as the limited availability meant the initial cars sold out immediately and new stock has been thin on the showroom floor. Whether it’s safety rulings, emissions legislation or the myriad of other governmental requirements on the motor industry, cars like the GR86 are a dying breed.

It’s a shame because this is a car that provides proper old fashioned fun and actually has to be driven rather than merely kept between the white lines. This is a car that’s nowhere near the automotive white goods description that befits so many models these days.

Externally its design is a sports car silhouette that has evoked motoring enjoyment and dreams for decades, think of the Capri, the Porsche 924, 944 and even 928 and, dare I mention it, the Jaguar E-Type fixed head. The long bonnet, the rearward placing of the cabin and the lift back rear is a classic design.

The interior is not quite such a success being functional rather than luxurious or a lesson in design. Ultimately though that doesn’t matter because it works, what does matter is the driving experience.

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Written by

Mark Slack

If you're a petrol head you're in good hands with Mark Slack, whose expert take on the latest car releases will help you make your next purchase.