If Green-Car-Guide was to design a car (perish the thought!) it would probably be a lightweight, affordable, front-engined, rear-wheel drive coupé with a characterful and fuel efficient engine, all topped off with a killer chassis, a limited slip diff and a power to grip ratio that allows you to get the tail out at sensible speeds. Welcome to the Toyota GT-86/Subaru BRZ.
OK so we’ve shown our hand early. We like the ethos behind this car. If you think that modern cars have too much grip and too little balance and feel, you will also like this car. If massive power outputs and grip levels that can’t be breached are more your thing, you should probably give it a miss.
The GT-86 is great to drive. The chassis and steering let you know what’s going on, you can fully turn off the VSC, and the rear grip can be overcome easily enough providing plenty of mid-corner options. Toyota has Subaru to thank for this, as they got the job of developing it and the sister Subaru BRZ.
The Subaru-sourced 2.0-litre boxer engine is a gem. It does need some revs to really shine but its layout (horizontal pistons) contributes towards a low centre of gravity and it adds a big slice of character. Power is fed to the rear wheels through a 6-speed gearbox, with the auto being slightly more efficient. The standard limited slip diff means that proper power slides are on the menu too.
The GT-86 feels like a throwback. We mean this as a massive compliment. Too many manufacturers have lost sight of what makes driving fun but Toyota has nailed it. It’s not desperately pretty and the interior is a bit low rent but it offers tremendous value and thanks to the low kerb weight it’s surprisingly efficient too. We love it!