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Old 5th April 2018, 19:30   #1
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Default Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

Thought of sharing a quick note on one of the most fun cars I have ever owned or driven. The Toyota GT 86.

Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86-img_3206.jpg

I had been thinking of buying a sports car for a while - must be the mid life crisis looming on the horizon. I had pretty much determined to go for the Porsche Boxster or BMW M3 since I had driven both and loved both. But both had to be second hand given how expensive they were new and how quickly they depreciate. Also had heard some horror stories from my friend on his boxster maintenance costs. Still its handling and precise chassis meant it was top pick.
I was reading the reviews on Boxster and came across this.
http://gt86.com.au/2012-toyota-86-vs...rsche-boxster/

I had no idea Toyota could produce a good sports car - GT86 is not just Toyota but a combined production of Subaru and Toyota - two companies not necessarily known for producing fun to drive cars. Especially so Toyota. I was kind of hooked - I was sold when I saw the pricing. It will be cheaper than a 1-2 year old Boxster ; add to that lower service & spares costs and suddenly the little Toyota became an object of keen interest. After reading few reviews and seeing some crazy track videos, I decided GT86 would be it ! And within a week of taking the decision, I brought home a black GT 86 VT.
Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86-img_8542.jpg

There is already much written about this gem by pretty much every journalist and there are also enough comparison videos on youtube pitting this little baby against monsters ranging from McLaren MP4-12C to Ferrari F12 on different types of circuits.

For example this one :

Each of them unsurprisingly left the GT86 far behind on straights. What excited me was what was happening on the curves. At every corner it seemed as though the GT86 would gain a bit of advantage (before losing on next straight). For a car at 1/10th the price of the biggies that was quite impressive. Don't get me wrong - if I had the moolah I'd stick to the big powerful machines. But GT86 with all of 200 BHP was giving the 500+ BHP machines a small run for their money. And more importantly all reviewers of the car were smiling from ear to ear while driving it.

I would skip doing a review. Just a few notes of what works and what doesn't and what are some of the quirky things about this car.

What works

1. Handling. The high point of the GT86. Precise handling. The best I have ever witnessed in any car I have been in. (I have not been on anything pricier than Porsche though). It follows your inputs precisely. No drama.

2. Front engine, rear wheel drive - a fast vanishing species. I love it. Especially since it lets you get naughty at legal speeds. Oversteer that will make your face hurt with all the smiles.

3. Chassis : Fantastic feedback. And you can literally feel the road. It comes on its own on bends. With the extremely low seating position, its almost like a go kart replacement toy when you are ready to have fun.

What could have been better

1. Interiors : It is very basic. NO luxuries. Its almost as if the engineers said "the only luxury you really need on the road is the absolute pleasure of moving from point A to B in this car". I couldn't fault with that logic.

2. Noise - heavy road noise back into cabin. Sound proofing is sparse given the weight targets the engineers had to work with.

3. Power - 200 hp, 205 Nm torque @6000 rpm is not going to win you any race. Most hot hatches would beat you from the lights. Personally, I don't find it annoying. With speed cameras all around, on a normal day its difficult to reach the limits of 200 horses on this weightless, 2 seater. I love the engine though (its Boxer Subaru engine design, naturally aspirated) esp between 2k-3K.

Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86-img_5456.jpg

Quirky facts


1. The GT of the name comes from 2000GT from which it is inspired from- James Bond's car from You only live twice.

2. It has the smallest steering of any Toyota

Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86-img_0819.jpg

3. 86 : 86 has 86 as a key design element. Bore, stroke and exhaust tip all measures 86 mm. Many other 86 motifs all around the car makes it fun - as if the team was asked to go have fun.

Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86-img_4908.jpg

4. 2 65 mm bulges on the roof so driver and passenger can wear helmets while on track.
Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86-img_8641.jpg

5. Start stop button is at an unconventional area. Seemingly T asked track drivers where they would want and they said at the position of Kill switch in race cars.
Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86-img_7838.jpg

6. The AC switches are like plane switches. No idea why.

Other details for people considering purchase / renting one of these (Not sure how much longer Subaru/ Toyota is going to produce this given the shift to more environment friendly / hybrid focus)

Variants : There are two broad variants for the Toyota one - VT and VTX. VT is the one I opted for since both has same mechanicals with differences being in interiors (esp touch screen) and some exterior detailing. I was neutral across the two but since I was buying certified second hand from official dealer in Dubai (and was looking for display cars with few Km on odo) there were n't too many options (a total of 3 cars only were available) and VT version had fewer KM and just sounded better for some reason

Safety : Quite adequate for an old world design ; both side airbags plus side. Isofix child seat anchor points. Helmet humps for both driver and passenger. Since its a niche product, no NCAP ratings. It has a traction control system (VSC) and ABS as standard - the former is critical to be turned on esp for new/nervous drivers but for tracks you can turn it off to have the rear move around like a crazed animal. Given the limited power on offer, you can't really be doing too many dangerous things with this in default tune state.

Transmission and engine


Enthusiasts swear by the manual. Many rate it as one of the best gearboxes out there this side of a Porsche. Mine is an auto since manual was not available when I decided to go ahead and I didn't want to wait. However, thankfully with either the tiptronic or the paddle shifters its not as bad as some people make it out to be. The instrument cluster even tells you when to shift up or down with aid of up/down arrows just in case.

Overall I found the auto to be quite adequate if you are not in mood for anything very crazy. In sport mode, it is very sprightly and more than enough for daily use on public roads. And with paddle shifters/ tiptronics you can get more juice when you want. Is it as involved as manual - no. Does it pass the test - yes.

The engine is Subarus 2L boxer engine with Toyotas direct injection. It is an old type naturally aspirated one with no turbo charging. The full power on offer is at a high 7K rpm. Good thing is, it likes to be revved which also kind of makes manual a better match. Or you work the shifters more.

Features

LED headlamps with integral day-running lights, front foglamps at the outer edges of the front bumper, 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels which looks quite nice, electrically folding door mirrors and keyless entry with a push-button starter. Nothing really ground breaking but nothing to complain either. In interior, it has dual zone climate control, 3 spoke leather steering wheel, cruise control (which likely never gets used with this car), multi media system with blue tooth. (OEM speaker set up is adequate).

Seats are lovely - race car option with red stitching on black fabric for VT trim. Placed so low that you feel like you are on the road. For me this and the fact that the RPM counter is the front and center of driver's vision makes the drab interior excusable.

Wheels and tyres
Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86-img_0334.jpg

Its same as the puny ones used in Prius - thin Michelins and purposely so for adding the fun element on turns. Less grip. 17 inch wheel with a 10 spoke Alloys that are good to look at.

Interior storage, practicality & boot space


Clearly an issue if this is your every day go about (which thankfully for me it is not). There are couple of areas to store 1 L bottles on the doors. It also has a parcel tray of sorts close to hand brakes where you can keep your cell phone, wallet, coins etc but the tray moves around making it a bit of a pain. Interior space is adequate even tall people and the seat can be pushed back for more space if need be. Anyways only kids can sit behind and even they will soon start complaining if its anything more than a quick jaunty.
No grab handles and hence getting in and out is cumbersome unless you do daily yoga.
Boot ? What is that ? Hey it can take a couple of medium sized bags though as long as they are not very thick (aperture is small) . Hopefully you did not buy a GT for carrying luggage. Basically the design engineers expect you to not have many things lying about as you drive this. (bags, tissues boxes, phone, etc to be avoided if possible). Sunglasses on your face (no place to hold it otherwise). There is a compartment to keep the documents, manual etc but no lights there. Toyota says with back buckets folded down you can take 4 spare tyres for track days or two golf bags- Im yet to try either of these.

Overall NVH levels : You get a lot of the noise into the cabin given sparse dampening given the need to keep the weight under control. Also some engine noise is piped back in for that race feel. Hopefully if you really did the research and bought this car, then you probably like the noise. If you are really bothered, ear plugs are the only way to go ; other options people have tried is to use the 12 v plug cover to plug the pipe that gets the noise piped back (its a perfect fit). Overall I dont mind the noise.

Other aspects
  • There are parking sensors in VT. It is important given the less than ideal rear visibility
  • 0-100 in around 7.6 seconds
  • 5 year warranty and intervals of 15k for servicing

On a parting note, if you ever get to drive one anywhere, do so.

It is not very practical. It is sparse. Some people find it quite under powered for what it aims to do. Chassis will let you know exactly what you are driving over transferring it without any dampening onto your posterior which is placed centi meters from the road. There is virtually no rear visibility. You can't do long drives without some back ache and is not helped much by race car style seats. Getting in and out is bit of a yoga pose.

But, it would be one of the most fun things you'd ever do if you are a petrol-head. Take a few corners and come out giggling like teenage girls. It is the car for you if you love the old saying - Straights are for fast cars, corners are for fast drivers.

Last edited by snan : 14th April 2018 at 19:05.
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Old 16th April 2018, 09:26   #2
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Default re: Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 16th April 2018, 09:33   #3
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Default Re: Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

Quote:
Originally Posted by snan View Post
5. Start stop button is at an unconventional area. Seemingly T asked track drivers where they would want and they said at the position of Kill switch in race cars.
Attachment 1749044
You'd be happy to know that the Ford Mustang also has the Start/Stop button placed in a similar configuration. Check this post:

Ford Mustang (Spreading Xmas cheer from Bangalore to Chennai with the Ford Mustang)

Great read, thanks for sharing.
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Old 16th April 2018, 09:45   #4
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Default Re: Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

Glad to see a new thread from a fellow member from Dubai!

The GT86 is a great car to drive, no two doubts about it. It was among the top of my choices when I was looking to buy a new 2 door coupe but sadly my XXXL frame could not comfortably fit in the relatively compact cabin. Even the 370Z was too small for me! So I veered towards to Amercian muscle trio & finally got a Stang.

I am glad you got the 86 in black since I have seen many in boring white (UAE's obsession) and the common red.

Regarding road noise, it is quite common in these cars. Even my car has a lot of wind noise and tyre roar above 120 kmph.
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Old 16th April 2018, 10:04   #5
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Default Re: Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

Second 86 review in Teambhp, and my face is already green with ENVY
How I dream of this car...at least to drive it once.

(Ahem, act mature.)

Congrats on the purchase @snan and wish you years of fun motoring.
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Old 16th April 2018, 16:22   #6
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Default Re: Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

Congrats on your new car.I believe the subaru BRZ( which is subaru version of gt86) has a slightly different interior compared to the toyota gt 86.
I am in Dubai as well.I guess we should organize a meet of bhpians in Dubai
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Old 17th April 2018, 23:20   #7
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Default Re: Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

Quote:
Originally Posted by snan View Post

Subaru and Toyota - two companies not necessarily known for producing fun to drive cars.
Subaru WRX STI is an extremely fun to drive car as well and has always been the king in the segment of Rally cars right above EVO until recently.

Then Ford released its latest Focus RS.
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Old 18th April 2018, 01:40   #8
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Default Re: Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

Congrats

In US, the Toyota GT86 is able to sell almost 3 times compared to Subaru BRZ.
One of the reason could be, considering Subaru, the first thing that comes to mind is its symmetrical AWD which is not present in Subaru BRZ. That thought might not happen, while considering a Toyota GT86.

Last edited by arunrajk81 : 18th April 2018 at 01:43. Reason: Sentence connection
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Old 18th April 2018, 02:57   #9
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Default Re: Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

Quote:
Originally Posted by snan View Post
I had no idea Toyota could produce a good sports car - GT86 is not just Toyota but a combined production of Subaru and Toyota - two companies not necessarily known for producing fun to drive cars.
The portfolio for most Japanese car brands usually feature mundane cars. Then there is this other side to them where they go crazy while still keeping the practical element intact, unlike the Germans and Italians. Pick any Japanese car manufacturer and there is one pure, driver focused car that has what it takes to scare the living daylights of the front runners in this segment. I will start with the most known;

Nissan 370Z and GTR
Honda Civic Type R and the new NSX (The latter is simply stunning)
Subaru STI and Levorg
Toyota GT86
Mazda MX5

The Toyota and Mazda are exceptions in the list in the sense that you can buy a nice two door sports car without breaking the bank or having to mortgage your home, organs or whatever else. They will never fall apart too and will fetch back a decent amount of dough when the time comes to sell it. What I also like is that these two cars do not have too much of techo krapp in them when it comes to driving. They have kept it simple. Steering wheel, Pedals and a stick shift (If you want one). A Toyota Corolla look alike dashboard are the least of your problems. The GT86 is a real stand out car. The few I have seen have always made me turn back and take another look at it.

A mid life crisis can't be a good thing for anyone. There are some thing in life that can help you get through this phase. The GT86 sure is one of them.

Last edited by sandeepmohan : 18th April 2018 at 03:01.
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Old 18th April 2018, 05:42   #10
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Default Re: Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

The GT86 is a great car and have driven it extensively when I lived in Bangkok, Thailand. It does lack a little adrenaline rush with the way the power is delivered although that is nothing that cannot be solved with the official TRD supercharger kit. Are you considering that?
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Old 19th April 2018, 16:39   #11
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Default Re: Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

Just read your review in detail - congrats snan! I hadn't read up much on the GT86 before, but did after your thread. These kind of cars - with adequate but not enormous power - also greatly appeal to me. While more power is always welcome, it's just more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. Something like the GT86 makes a lot of sense for India where a Supercar's 600 horsepower (or even 500) is largely irrelevant.

Some people were shocked when I said that a Mini Cooper S is as much fun (if not more than) a Ferrari in India. I still stick by those words. Would rather redline a car all the way in 1st, 2nd & 3rd gears than have a car that I can never redline even in 1st. Similar to how a 400cc bike in Mumbai might be more fun than a liter class.

Hope a RHD GT86 is spotted in India soon.
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Old 19th April 2018, 16:58   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by praveen_n View Post
Congrats on your new car.I believe the subaru BRZ( which is subaru version of gt86) has a slightly different interior compared to the toyota gt 86.
I am in Dubai as well.I guess we should organize a meet of bhpians in Dubai
Not a bad idea at all ! I have not driven Subaru BRZ so not sure of interiors - I like the looks of Subaru a little better but don't know exactly why !

Quote:
Originally Posted by praveen_n View Post
Congrats on your new car.I believe the subaru BRZ( which is subaru version of gt86) has a slightly different interior compared to the toyota gt 86.
I am in Dubai as well.I guess we should organize a meet of bhpians in Dubai
Not a bad idea at all ! I have not driven Subaru BRZ so not sure of interiors - I like the looks of Subaru a little better but don't know exactly why !

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadGlide View Post
The GT86 is a great car and have driven it extensively when I lived in Bangkok, Thailand. It does lack a little adrenaline rush with the way the power is delivered although that is nothing that cannot be solved with the official TRD supercharger kit. Are you considering that?
Not at this moment. But definitely in plans. For some reason, I quite like this slightly lower power since it helps you floor it without worrying about speed cams ! :-)

Last edited by SDP : 20th April 2018 at 09:34. Reason: Merging back to back posts
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Old 19th April 2018, 18:56   #13
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Default Re: Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post

Hope a RHD GT86 is spotted in India soon.
I fully agree with you on the Mini statement. It is a hoot especially with the crackles and bang of the JCW exhaust. It is good fun for city speeds because you know you willl still be giggling all the time.

And regarding the GT86, I do not think it will ever come. It will easily cost 25-30 lacs (possibly more) when it lands in India and that can fetch you a VRS which is not only faster but more practical daily car to live with. Plus no enthusiast will take the pain of importing it for something that won't make a statement on the road.
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Old 20th April 2018, 09:24   #14
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Default Re: Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

Congrats! Love the GT86, loved the review!

Please do keep updating this thread.

Quote:
But, it would be one of the most fun things you'd ever do if you are a petrol-head. Take a few corners and come out giggling like teenage girls. It is the car for you if you love the old saying - Straights are for fast cars, corners are for fast drivers.
Literally had goosebumps while reading this.

The fact that I am still not old enough to have a legal license makes me worry if I'll ever be able to experience or own a car like the GT86 in my lifetime. Don't get me wrong, Teslas are nice "vehicles" and I am excited to see what the future holds. But this is the image of a "car" for me. The GT86, this is it. Congrats again.

Neel
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Old 21st April 2018, 11:20   #15
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Default Re: Living with a practical sports car : The iconic Toyota GT86

Hello Snan,

Congrats! GT86 is a decent car with great handling.

While I was there, I got a chance (I think 2016) to do a test drive of the same model though I had particularly asked for a manual transmission. Two things I still remember are:

a. It's handling
b. The low seating position

The sad thing about this car is the power though. I think the chassis can handle a bit more power than that, which sadly is a deal breaker for many. You don't expect a sports car to struggle in front of an Accord or Camry imho.

I hope you have fun with this car. UAE has some great roads to drive and we have a few bhpians who regularly do Friday early morning drives, although the thread here is not updated. Most of the talking happens on Whatsapp.

Cheers!



Quote:
Originally Posted by praveen_n View Post
Congrats on your new car.I believe the subaru BRZ( which is subaru version of gt86) has a slightly different interior compared to the toyota gt 86.
I am in Dubai as well.I guess we should organize a meet of bhpians in Dubai
As I mentioned above there is a group of bhpians I'm part off, pm me your phone number and I can pass it on to the group admin. Mind you, it's 90% car discussions and 10% miscellaneous

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post

Hope a RHD GT86 is spotted in India soon.
I wonder if anyone is going to import a Toyota because I don't think Toyota will introduce this in India. If I were to buy a car in order to dangle on the speed breaker, I would rather have a Porsche dangling for social media publicity reasons
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