Toyota GT 86 reviewed by Chris Harris / DRIVE

video: The Toyota FT-86, GT-86, Scion FRS - Chris Harris On Cars

Video: The Toyota FT-86, GT-86, Scion FRS - Chris Harris On Cars.

One of the most anticipated new cars of 2012, the Toyota rear wheel drive entry level sports car with too many names: GT-86, FT-86, and FRS. Also known as the Subaru BRZ. Chris Harris travels to Spain to get the most ouf a short session in the car.

There was a lovely moment when I asked Tetsuya Tada, Chief engineer on
the GT 86, what the car's Nurburgring lap-time was, and he just smirked.
Because I was already laughing myself. I suggested 11 minutes. He said
he didn't know and didn't care..

Be in no doubt that whether you like the styling or not, the GT 86
marks an important shift in ethos for the rapid horseless carriage. If,
in five years time, other sectors of the enthusiast market are no longer
allowing themselves to be judged in terms of ever-greater performance,
and have chosen more subjective criteria, then we will owe the GT 86 a
great deal.

PH has already published not one but two
first drives on the car, because we wanted to get one live promptly.
Time with the car was tight, and there was nothing on the public road,
but you can still glean a lot from these brief encounters.

We've heaped praise on so much of the car it's probably useful to
discuss the areas that could prove problematic in the showroom.

It takes effort but it's well worth it
It takes effort but it's well worth it

and badge-issues are best left to the individual tastes, but it would
be hard to suggest that an Audi TT or Peugeot RCZ won't hold greater
appeal to the fashinistas, both outside and in.

Is it fast enough? I think so. If you buy into the 86 ethos, you
don't much care if a Focus RS scoots away from the lights. Pulling out
of second gear turns, on a dry circuit, the car had enough power and
torque to overcome the mechanical grip of those 215 section tyres. That
tells me all I need to know.

Is the £25,000 price reasonable? Absolutely.

Toyota or Subaru?
If you'd asked me that an hour before driving the GT 86, I'd have
trenchantly answered 'Scooby' for all the obvious, 555-derived, reasons.
Once I was looking out of the side window and revving the Bristols off
the thing, the thought didn't even enter my mind. In fact, I'm enjoying
the AE 86 heritage link
more and more, and liked the GT 86's supple suspension. I'm hearing
that the Subaru might be a touch firmer, but can't pass judgment until
that information is confirmed and we get to drive it.

Given that I suspect you will be exposed to heaps more
sideways-driven GT 86 footage, one last note on the car's behaviour when
driven in true Hachi Roku manner.
The GT 86 creates slip-angle through power, not torque. Clever
engineers will find fault with that statement but, from behind the
wheel, you have to use all the engine revs to make it jiggle about. With
the engine buzzing above 5,500rpm, and the Torsen differential forcing
power to both rear wheels, the car has a quite a narrow window of
stability. Too much throttle and you quickly need to use all the lock to
correct the slide, too little and the car will straighten itself, and
deliver those unprepared a sharp little tank slapper.

This isn't an M3. It asks much more of the driver to execute
gratuitous slides. You need to unsettle the car more subtly, use
momentum to help create yaw, then pounce on the opportunity, and extract
the most from it by throwing just the right amount of gas at the
suggestion of a slide, nurture it and ride it out. It's quite tricky to
start with, but once you find a rhythm, it's a blast. Pointless info, I
know, but then this isn't What Car?

Author: Chris Harris