Toyota GT 86 at 2012 Geneva International Motor Show
To start with a short excerpt from Toyota Press Conference speech by Toyota Europe Vice President, Alain Uyttenhoven:
"Let me start with the fantastic GT86. Some of you are aware of Toyota’s rich sports car history …cars such as the 2000GT…the Supra...and the Celica.
With nearly 5 million vehicles sold worldwide, we have a rich heritage.
Now the GT86 is reviving our passion for sports cars. Not just on race tracks, but on the road as well. Its weight is less than 1.2 tonnes, it has a very low centre of gravity, rear wheel drive and a great power to weight ratio.
The GT86 delivers pure driving pleasure and creates a strong emotional connection between driver and car.
It is competitively priced across Europe and will attract people who never realised they could afford such a fun car."
Well there is no big news at Geneva International Motor Show regarding information or specs about the GT 86. Or price. But Toyota have listed average fuel economy at very attractive 6.9L/100km, though acceleration 0-100kmh is rather disappointing 7.7 seconds for manual, 8.4sec for automatic gearbox. Do we have a downtuned ECU? Are these just numbers?
But it is great to see how Toyota shows off its baby sports car. Not just one, no. Toyota brought five GT 86 to the show - white, dark grey, blue, orange, and Gazoo Racing test car that participated in the VLN race in Nurburgring. Toyota shows this car will be a massive success and that they do plan to return to developing sports cars. Toyota has proved its environmental side with its huge success of hybrid cars so it is time to take side steps.
Rewind to 2009.
More than 2 years ago Tada-san mentioned that the FT-86 will be as good as possible for drifting. While it sounded like a bit funny remark, TMC efforts gradually revealed results. If it is not the very best car for drifting, the 86 will be a massive success among the crowd, who loved the AE86. The wheelbase is way longer than AE86, which is a great improvement and removes the snappy nature of controlling the car. The boxer engine is very low, greatly reducing center of gravity and body roll. Weight distribution is near perfect for cars of this power - 53:47. Power/weight ratio is greatly improved. Subaru chassis, while modified, still provides enough aftermarket parts as soon as the car hits the sales.
Then there were those Gran Turismo 5 video trailers where the FT-86 Concept was going mostly sideways. And when the concept was available for the game, the FT-86 soon became one of the most popular cars for drifting in the game. With the addition of GPS-track day technology this could get even more exciting. In real life drifting performance is hard to <u>measure</u>. But Gran Turismo game features drift mode where points are given for drifting throughout every corner, calculating points according to speed, drift angle and other parameters. So in theory, after a drift day on a real track with your Toyota FT-86 you could go home, plug your USB logger in Playstation 3 and examine your drifting performance in a replay showing how much points you have scored in each corner. That would be a great benchmarking feature and would help to understand and learn drifting better. And it seems possible in the production car and probably the necessary hardware will be available to public in near future.
Now when the car finally close to production, we have already seen the 86 going sideways. We've seen videos of what a stock Toyota 86 is capable of. We see how performance 86/FRS drift cars are being built before the car is even released to public.
So when Toyota said this car will be best for drifting, it is clear where they are going or at least pushing. Currently drifting is the most popular automotive sports so it is the right direction. I`m a drifting fan, so now I really love everything about the car!
While not the top priority, I have had mixed feelings for the design (and redesigns) of the car. I loved the first FT-86 Concept, it was fresh, original, true JDM. I disliked the FT-86 II Concept because of the LED strips. I felt neutral to the production car design. Maybe I disliked the orange color at first. But the design has grown on me lately. The front is similar to Lexus IS series as everytime I see an IS it reminds me of the 86, but the IS just doesn't meet the charm. Now as I look back to 2009 the first FT-86 concept doesn't seem so awesome anymore. As I see the white, dark grey and blue GT86 at 2012 Geneva MS - it's a masterpiece! Stock wheel choice is not the best (I`d prefer TRD TF6) but they`re very good for stock alloy wheels. I love everything about the car, inside and outside!
The point of this car? Well, 30 years ago there was AE86 in Japan, E30 BMW in europe. Both of them are still very popular among the tuner crowd, most of them still under 200hp and yet very competitive. It is the charming combination of weight, balance, power and price.
Toyota have announced first "86" that will reach the customers in Japan. Grades G and RC will reach their first owners starting 3rd of May 2012, while grades GT and GT "Limited" will be get to streets in September 2012.
And last but not least, March 7th is birthday for Tetsuya Tada, he just turned 55. I think you can see Tada-san is extra excited in this awesome small speech video at Geneva:
This is a truly remarkable moment in car history and the boring days of Toyota have ceased! 2012 will be awesome :)
Media source: Toyota Special Showroom