Toyota 86

May 16, 2012

Toyota 86 (GT86) is a Toy wonder from Japan

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Written by: Goran Has
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Toyota 86 (GT86) is a Toy wonder from Japan

are the world’s biggest car firm thanks to churning out dependable workhorses Auris, Yaris, Avensis and Prius.

But they fear that might no longer be enough to keep them No1.

So never mind the Yaris, they wanted something that kicks ass.

Sensible has made way for sensational and this is it… the much-awaited ().

When Toyota boss Akio Toyoda unveiled the car last year he said: “All car lovers have been waiting for this kind of car.”

He was right.

This is a G & T which, for Toyota, is so refreshing… and equally intoxicating.

It’s a return to the good old days for the firm that produced cult sporty classics like the and Celica.

Design has been inspired by the Toyota 2000GT from the 60s and more recently, the early 80s rear-wheel drive sensation Corolla GT AE86, from which the takes its name.

It’s aggressive with narrow but piercing werewolf headlamps and gaping mesh grille — it growls at you like a wild animal about to devour it’s prey.

The profile is athletic and rear haunches hint of Porsche and Jaguar. This is a kids’ dream Toy car… but this is reality.

The new coupé is the first lovechild of an intriguing joint development project between Toyota and .

That’s like Prince William and Harry going on a night out — and Harry getting to choose the drinks.

The ’s exterior styling and product planning was taken care of by Toyota, while Subaru supplied most of the parts — chassis, engine, transmission, brakes and suspension — that make the car so much fun to drive.

The firms cleverly combined Toyota’s direct injection system with Subaru’s 2litre boxer engine to produce a cleaner, more efficient and effective powerplant.

It delivers 197bhp and with manual gearbox hits 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 140mph.

Yet it still is capable of returning a reasonable mid30-miles-per-gallon fuel economy. The secret to the success of this car lies in the world-first rear-wheel drive boxer engine layout, with a choice of Subaru Impreza-inspired six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearboxes and F1-type steering wheel paddles.

The is a two-plus-two, but don’t expect even Ronnie Corbett to be comfortable in the back, stating any kind of legroom would incur the wrath of the Trade Descriptions .

However the rest of the cockpit has cool and comfort in equal measure.

Front seats are supportive and comfy, pedal positions are perfectly set, and visibility is good all round.

The red leather two-tone trim addsg the necessary dose of dynamic.

On our drive on road and track here in Barcelona, the had a distinct racy sound and flavour of Subaru burbling through the cabin.

But frustratingly it’s a Yorkshire terrier — its bark is worse than its bite.

The four-cylinder engine delivers adequate oomph but under heavy acceleration could do with a great deal more punch and torque.

It’s fast but lacks the true guts and grunt to live up to its looks.

The feels light on the Tarmac, and its ride is firm but not harsh.

Turn-in is sharp and precise and body roll minimal. Grip levels are higher than expected, it’s phenomenal fun with a capital F. This car is a blast to drive and without doubt injects some much-needed adrenalin to a sensible model range.

However, I can’t help but want a bit more power to live up to the style prowess. I’m sure that Toyota will add the bhp to give you more bang for your bucks.

And that brings me neatly to the greatest aspect of my new favourite Toy. The price is also a pleasant surprise.

It actually starts at £24,995 (UK price) for manual and £26,495 for auto. That’s a steal for one of the top 10 cars of 2012.

In truth, its biggest rival will be its half- brother, , which arrives later in the year with same mechanicals, similar looks and price.

But the Toyota/Subaru mix definitely works — like a good G&T they taste great together. With the , I expect Toyota to get drunk on success.

The article was first published by UK tabloid

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