Toyota's new GT 86 for those whose driving is a passion, not a necessity


November 26, 2011

Toyota's GT 86

Toyota's GT 86

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Toyota will be officially showing its GT 86 sports car in Tokyo, after several years of concept cars and redesigns and extensive collaboration with Subaru, which will sell an almost identical car.

The compact 2+2 sports car is an incredibly important release from the world's largest auto manufacturer, which is hoping to bolster its reputation by creating a superb handling, driver-focused, low center of gravity, beautifully balanced with excellent power-to-weight ratio.

The front-mounted 197bhp Subaru 2.0-litre flat-four has rear wheel drive, goes on sale mid-2012 and is expected to sell below GBP30,000 in the UK to "those for whom driving is a passion, not a necessity."

The GT 86 measures 4,240mm long, 1,285mm high and 2,570mm wide, dimensions making it the most compact four-seater sports car available today. The driving position have been set as low and as far back as possible to achieve a 53:47 front-to-rear weight distribution and an ultra-low center of gravity, at just 475mm.

Subaru's new horizontally opposed, naturally aspirated 1,998cc four-cylinder boxer engine features separate twin injectors for both direct and port injection, and a high 12.5:1 compression ratio. The flat-four has equal bore and stroke of 86.0mm and drives through either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The manual offers quick, precise shifts using a tactile, short-throw lever; the automatic transmission can be controlled using paddle shifts mounted on the steering wheel.

Power is distributed to the rear wheels via a limited slip differential to give the best possible grip in all driving conditions. The ABS and switchable vehicle stability control systems have been tuned specifically to deliver dynamic stability at the limit of the car's performance envelope with minimal electronic intervention to help preserve the purity of the driving experience.

The GT 86 may be launched as the world's only current sports car to feature a front-mounted, horizontally opposed engine and rear-wheel drive, but it cannot claim to be the first. That honor is held by Toyota's two-cylinder boxer-engined Sports 800, which the company began developing in 1962. Since then, Toyota has established a long history of producing exciting, driver-focused sports cars with a front-engine, rear-wheel drive format that have proved as popular with the public as they have been successful in competition.

Here's some video from Toyota of the GT 86 in action.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

I am amazed at how much it looks like the last Celica Toyota produced.


No FT-86 for me. Learned my lesson about Toyota\'s lousy products and equally lousy attitude toward customers when the engine disintegrated in my MR2 Spyder. I published a blog post regarding the Recall King\'s latest venture into sports car land:

Parris Boyd

The design looks like it came out of the 1980`s.Maybe thats why they call it GT86.

Richard Janovsky

\"is expected to sell below GBP30,000 in the UK\".. Typo. no way this thing will sell for less then 30k.

Michael Mantion

Less that 30K pounds? I can almost get new Corvette for that!


as normal, gizmag is close but not right. The ft-86 is suppose to be released into toyota\'s off brand scion this spring/summer. It fails to mention its a sporty, tuner economy car aimed at a younger generation interested in a cheaper more driver enthusiast market. It has the same look or style as my 2011 scion tc but looks to have more class, and hopefully it does. Can\'t wait

Wyatt Bonnette

LOL - looks like a Datsun 260Z 2+2 - yeah - from the \'80s


You nailed it Womp, my thoughts exactly, another gutless Celica. What a joke, 197hp boxer 2L and they call it a sports car. Forget it Toyota, you\'ll never catch Honda, never produce anything like an Integra Type R or Civic type R, you\'re only passion is profit at the expense of squeezing the blood out of your suppliers.


I will look forward to watching Jeremy Clarkson\'s review of this car when they get hold of it. It is good to see Toyota getting back to making cars that people actually want and can enjoy! Keep it up.

The back looks too Subaru to me...yuck. The Toyota show car actually looked better than the final version of the car. I wish Toyota had gone for a normal 4 cylinder with a turbo instead of a tweaked Subaru motor that will be harder to work on due to its design.


I am not too crazy about it looks


It needs the V8 from the pickup truck, and a 5-speed manual trans and yes, it looks like a 240/260Z.

William Lanteigne

The Datsun 240Z was introduced in 1970. The engine was a derivation of the Datsun 1600. The Datsun 1600 engine was a copy of the 1960\'s six-cylinder Mercedes-Benz 220 engine, but with two less cylinders. By adding two extra cylinders in the 240Z the cylinder count was back to six. With 151 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque, the vehicle could propel from zero-to-sixty in eight seconds. The independent suspension and the rack-and-pinon steering added to its quick response, performance, and handling. The front disc brake brought the car to a stop from high speeds in just seconds. With a price tag of just over $3,500, it cost much less than anything else on the market. This Z has been used by Nissan Motor Corp. for several ad campaigns including the launch of the 2003 350Z.

Jim W. Brucks

Ugliest looking GT ever produced. Hope this was produced by the designers in Japan and not the ones in California which is where this project first went off the rails.

The cars from Lotus and Ferrari look beautiful standing still and show true 3-D artistry. The Toyota looks like different people were given individual sections of the car and then it was all cobbled together in a CAD system.

Even the Koreans with Kia and Hyundai have learned the value of the look of a car to promote sales and Nissan\'s sales increased dramatically and saved the company after they created a design center in southern California. Surprised that Toyota still does not get it and produces vehicles such as this and the Camry and other boring vehicles.


I\'m cautiously optimistic about this one. Compared to something like a Mazda Miata, it could perform better and be more practical as a daily driver. Plus I might actually fit into this one (I\'m too tall for the Miata).

Jon A.

Stop with the stupid production music and lets hear the car engine.

Jim Bentz

One word:


\'Nuff said.

Michael Powers

1st i think i love sports cars, then i think how hopelessly wussy celicas are. Put a twin turbo like the supra in it and we got a car, they already make an underpowerd rwd sports car, the miata. we don\'t need a heavier one with an engine from a DIFFERENT manufacturer in it. (though subaru\'s engine may be its only good quality, can you get sti power from it?)


I wonder how many of these people currently own a toyota. I have the current Auris 1.4 and i think its a brilliant car. Toyota are one of the most reliable car manufacturers in the world (despite the recent callbacks) and you would all do a good job giving the GT-86 a chance. Check some of the reviews its been getting and you'll see that you now look like idiots.

Ross Hill
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