A com­pact cruiser

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Mike Tor­pey

WTOYOTA has roared back to its driver­fo­cused roots for the lat­est ver­sion of the GT86 sports coupe. Un­flinch­ing in a de­sire to de­liver a clas­sic sports car ex­pe­ri­ence, the brand’s en­gi­neers were de­ter­mined to re­tain three key el­e­ments – rear-wheel drive, no tur­bocharg­ing and or­di­nary tyres.

So be­neath the bon­net of the GT86 T&G is a com­pact, front-mounted, free-revving ‘boxer’ petrol en­gine that drives the rear wheels.

And the pow­er­train com­bines with the car’s light weight and a low cen­tre of grav­ity to pro­vide the best pos­si­ble power-to-weight ra­tio.

The re­sult is some­thing Toy­ota is herald­ing as the world’s most com­pact four-seat sports car, one that’s not only a joy to drive but that has parts which can eas­ily be ad­justed or cus­tomised to own­ers’ pref­er­ences.

Driver en­gage­ment is the pri­or­ity rather than prac­ti­cal­ity and com­fort with the GT86, though this is most def­i­nitely not a bone-shaker with lit­tle or no stowage space.

Space up front is ac­tu­ally very good in­deed – it’s just that the two back seats are strictly for kids, and lit­tle ones at that, while you can pack plenty into the 243-litre boot.

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder en­gine de­vel­ops 197bhp and while its 0-62mph ac­cel­er­a­tion is hardly ex­cep­tonal at 7.7 sec­onds that fig­ure is coun­tered by the way the Toy­ota han­dles.

With its firm ride and clas­sic lay­out of en­gine at the front and driven wheels at the rear the GT86 has bags of fun fac­tor, sweep­ing nim­bly round wind­ing coun­try lanes with near per­fect feed­back from the steer­ing.

The only gripe would be the way the ped­als are slightly off­set, though the low driv­ing po­si­tion is ter­rific and the seats and steer­ing wheel are eas­ily ad­justed.

As with all Toy­ota mod­els the GT86 feels well screwed to­gether and there’s plenty of kit as stan­dard too.

So the likes of cli­mate con­trol, key­less en­try, elec­tric front win­dows, 17-inch al­loy wheels, cruise con­trol, Blue­tooth, a Toy­ota Touch 2 mul­ti­me­dia sys­tem and dual zone air con are in­cluded.

Safety gear brings sta­bil­ity con­trol, seven airbags, anti-whiplash head­rests, alarm and im­mo­biliser while the higher grade Pro spec adds heated Al­can­tara seats, a suede dash­board and a rear spoiler.

And if you’re won­der­ing where the ‘86’ in GT86 comes from, well the num­ber has played a sig­nif­i­cant part in the car’s de­vel­op­ment, more than just a ref­er­ence to its an­ces­tor the AE86 Corolla GT.

The car also had the in-house de­vel­op­ment code 086A and even the di­am­e­ter of the GT86’s chrome-tipped twin ex­hausts is 86mm.

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