The other day I wrote glowingly about the soon to be deleted Peugeot RCZ bemoaning the fact that mainstream manufacturers seem to be eliminating quirky and interesting cars. Fortunately, not all of them feel that way and Toyota is one such company.
I had the opportunity to drive the Toyota GT86 briefly eighteen months ago and the almost identical Subaru BRZ for a week more recently and found that they are pretty much the ideal drivers’ sports cars for UK roads. Toyota reckon that the GT86 isn’t a car for standing still, so it’s no surprise that it’s raced ahead to mark a “new year” with a refreshed line-up and style detail changes. At heart it remains every inch the best driver’s car to be had for the money – and now for even less cash, thanks to a price reduction. That’s their words but I agree wholeheartedly.
New wheels and new colours lead the features list, with the range-topping Aero model running on gloss black 18-inch rims and available with a hot GT86 Orange paint finish. In line with customer preference, Aero is now exclusively available with six-speed manual transmission. The larger alloys are also newly available as an option on the core GT86 model.
The Primo model, entry point to the range, moves on to 16-inch alloys and comes with a £300 lower price tag. An on-going customer offer is available, adding a further £505 saving to deliver an on-the-road price of £22,195. Pricing for other models in the range is unchanged.
What has not changed, say the company, is the fundamentally brilliant GT86 dynamic package: its proven combination of a normally aspirated 2.0-litre boxer engine, low centre of gravity, rear-wheel drive (crucially) and a beautifully balanced chassis continues to deliver the exhilarating and rewarding driving experience that earned it Top Gear magazine’s Car of the Year title. The engine now complies with Euro 6 emissions standards, with no change to its fuel economy and CO2performance.
This, say Toyota, is not the end of the GT86 story for 2015: a new special edition model will be joining the range this summer, details to be announced soon. The 2016 GT86 is available to order now with first deliveries to customers in mid-July. There’s still room thankfully for proper motoring.Geoff Maxted