Here we are then people, the new Toyota GT86. First unveiled in Japan a few months ago, we finally get the UK spec and price. And according to chief designer Tetsuya Tada, Toyota has “remade everything”.
The cosmetic upgrades are slight, but noticeable. There’s a new headlight unit up front utilising LEDs, while the indicator lamps have been moved from the front bumper to inside the headlamp clusters.
The rear lights have also been reworked, to generate, in Toyota’s words, “a stronger horizontal effect”.
However, underneath, the gains are more than slight. The body structure is stiffer, while at the rear, additional spot welding has been employed and lots of bits made thicker. The shocks and springs have also been retuned for better handling and ride comfort, while even the front grille has a feature to aid airflow.
At the back, the new deeper rear bumper has aero-stabilising fins . “The biggest point I wanted to improve was the car’s responsiveness,” explain Tada-san, “on and off acceleration, turning in and turning out, and the speed and naturalness of its reactions.” The ‘old’ GT86 was already rather adept at such helmsmithery, so the new one should prove even more fun.
Tada-san points to the GT86’s racing provenance in the Nürburgring 24hr race, and as such, this revised GT86 gets a ‘track’ mode. Said mode adjusts the stability and traction control systems, while thankfully, there is a ‘fully off’ button. You may wish to gaffer-tape this particular button.
Though the 197bhp, 2.0-litre boxer engine remains as before, there are new things inside the car. Things like a new three-spoke steering wheel (at 362mm in diameter, the smallest yet for a production Toyota, we’re told) with additional buttons, with a new 4.2in TFT display housed in the instrument binnacle. This can be configured to display things you don’t want to see (fuel economy, journey distance) to things you do want to see (power and torque curves, stopwatch and the all-important G-force monitor).
The rev-counter has also been redesigned so the peak point of power delivery – 7,000rpm – sits right at the top of the dial. The invitation is clear, then.
There’s a black finish across the instrument panel, new carbonfibre-esque detailing, new ten-spoke 17in alloys, aluminium pedals, and better discs and pads. In the UK, you’ll get the choice of a standard GT86 (with a six-speed manual or auto), or a GT86 ‘Pro’, that adds heated front seats, leather and Alcantara, suede-effect on the dash and door trims, and a rear spoiler. Both versions get a multimedia system, 6.1in touchscreen and DAB tuner.
Prices? £25,945 for a standard, manual GT86, £27,495 for one with an automatic gearbox, £27,095 for the manual ‘Pro’, and £28,695 for the auto ‘Pro’. Tempted?