It’s not every day you get to own a car as fun, fast and furious as the new Toyota GT86 Coupe for under £27,000. Taking its cues from the best sports coupe’s of yesteryear, the GT86 is astonishingly entertaining to drive.
The good news for enthusiasts is that Toyota didn’t feel the need to accommodate families this time around. Instead, it’s been built to be an out-and-out sports car that takes few prisoners.
Sound good? OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2017 Toyota GT86 Coupe review.
On The Road
The Toyota keeps it real with its rear-wheel-drive, front-engine layout of the like you don’t get to see too often, especially at this price point. Its direct steering offers plenty of feedback, ensuring it’s easy to aim the GT86 in the right direction.
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that the Toyota’s 197bhp is hardly going to shake the earth in the same way that, say, a Nissan 370Z’s thunderous 324bhp V6 will. At low speeds, the Toyota can even feel a bit slow if you’re caught in a high gear.
All this just means you need to be prepared to work hard to get the best out of it – which we think most enthusiasts will be. Work it hard, and its excellent transmission, brakes and handling will reward your efforts. When it comes to driving pleasure, this is the ultimate pleasure machine.
In corners, it excels thanks to its lightweight structure. OSV – and we’re sure most interested buyers – were thankful that Toyota decided against fitting sticky, wide tyres, too. As a result, it’s much easier to tame the best and lure it into a controlled and graceful power-slide.
In terms of its engine, the 2.0-litre petrol unit develops 197bhp, which as mentioned isn’t as powerful as its rivals. However, it’s still got enough in its tank to motor its way from rest to 62mph in 7.2 seconds if you stick to the manual ‘box. This is pegged back to a more leisurely 8.2 seconds if you opt for the auto transmission.
The good news is that it always feels mighty fast.
The caveat is that there are more jet-heeled rivals. On the other hand, the GT86 Coupe makes a more glorious noise. Toyota have adopted a four-cylinder power plant that, though certainly unusual, sounds fiercely raw and gets more addictive the more you listen to it.
Toyota GT86 Coupe Interior, Design & Build
If you’re not looking for a slick, polished interior of the kind found in a German saloon, the Toyota GT86 Coupe’s interior is bearable. It’s more comfortable than anyone could have expected, with its suspension doing a decent job of sponging up lumps, bumps and other road imperfections.
The car’s bucket seats offer extra support and comfort, too.
As mentioned, the engine is growly in a good way – most of the time. On longer trips on the motorway, it could easily become bothersome. Insulation, on the whole, isn’t excellent, and wind and road noise will both make their way into the cabin.
In terms of its design, the Toyota hasn’t reached the standards of premium rivals. It’s basically a racing car but with modern features, such as a stereo and air conditioning. It’s not the most pleasant to look at, but it’s also not bad to look at. It’s just a bit too basic, although lashings of Alcantara suede have been added here and there.
In terms of how practical it is, the Toyota is more miss than hit. It comes with rear seats, but the space back there is too limited for them to be taken seriously by adults. On the flipside, if you’ve got kids or even teenagers who would love to get in one of these, there is just about enough room for them to get in and show off to their mates.
The two front seats are just fine – spacious and comfortable. Visibility is also good, while storage spaces are excellent and include a large glovebox and unexpectedly deep door bins.
The boot, meanwhile, measures 237-litres. It’s a nice, usable shape, but does lose out on the capacity front to most of its rivals.
Equipment & Safety Of The Toyota GT86 Coupe
Just the one engine but two different trim levels. Both are reasonably well-equipped, with the entry-level model getting the brands Touch2 infotainment system, LED headlights, keyless entry, push-button start, dusk-sensing headlights, headlight cleaners and cruise control.
The Pro trim adds a rear spoiler, part-leather heated seats, and a 4.2” colour screen.
Is the Toyota GT86 Coupe safe? Toyota as a brand has an excellent reliability reputation, but this car hasn’t been put through its crash test paces by Euro NCAP – and probably won’t ever be. It doesn’t sell enough, though we wouldn’t be concerned by this. All models get ISOFIX child-seat mounts as standard, as well as a strong traction control system, electronic stability control and 7 airbags.
Costs Of The Toyota GT86 Coupe
Prices for the new car start out from £26,855 and rise to £30,270. If you prefer to lease, you can pick up a deal from £332 + VAT per month. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the 2.0-litre 197bhp petrol engine is able to return 36.2mpg when paired up with the manual transmission while emitting 181g/km of CO2, resulting in an annual road tax bill of £230. Opt for the automatic ‘box, and those numbers improve to 39.8mpg and 164g/km. This is crucial, as it means you’ll pay £45 less per year in road tax.
When it comes to insurance, all models occupy group 33.
Pros and Cons Of The Toyota GT86 Coupe
It isn’t often you can get your hands on a performance coupe like this for such a reasonable price.
The GT86 wasn’t the best looker last time around, but 2017 revisions include new LED headlamps, a redesigned bumper and new fog lights. The result is a sharper, more modern car.
Combined with its lightweight structure, the accurate steering makes the Toyota fun to drive.
Expensive To Run
It’s affordable to buy, but if you work it hard you’ll struggle to see returns over 30mpg economy.
Toyota GT86 Coupe vs Subaru BRZ Coupe vs Audi TT Coupe
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2017 Toyota GT86 Coupe review.
Toyota GT86 Coupe vs Subaru BRZ Coupe
The new Subaru BRZ is a naughty-looking car that’s ready to go on the rampage. Affordable, great fun to drive and very, very sexy, it could be the tempter that changes your mind about the Toyota.
For enthusiasts and keen drivers, the Subaru is a bit of a dream come true as it has to be worked hard to get the best out of it. It certainly won’t comply if you treat it with kid gloves – it wants you to be its master who is ready to own it.
Once you’ve shown who’s in charge, it’s a bit of a monster that’s ready to have some fun.
If you’re a skilled and confident driver, you’ll also appreciate its narrow tyres that will require all your talent to handle it at its limits. Think of driving the Subaru as less of a leisurely experience and more of a challenge.
Its 2.0-litre engine comes paired with a sporty 6-speed manual ‘box that can do 0-62 in 7.6 seconds. If you prefer, you can specify a 6-speed automatic transmission instead, but doing so knocks that 0-62 time down to 8.2 seconds.
Whatever you choose, neither will be cheap to run. Subaru reckon the BRZ Coupe can return as much as 36.2mpg economy, but we think they’re being optimistic. The car, meanwhile, emits 181g/km of CO2, which means there will be a £230 yearly tax bill to pay.
Inside, the Subaru BRZ Coupe is very much driver focused. It’s not super comfortable, and insulation is poor. Interior design is also below average, and there are no pretty soft-touch plastics to look at.
Instead, the cabin is more functional than anything else.
Still, it’s ideal for the keen driver. The controls are well-positioned, visibility is excellent, and the mirrors are nice and large.
Is the Subaru BRZ Coupe practical? It’s easy to get comfortable up front, but anyone sat in the rear will feel cramped. The boot measure 243-litres, which just shades the Toyota, but a tall lip and a small opening will frustrate buyers. Worse still, if you specify the Pioneer stereo amplifier, you lose even more boot space.
Toyota – £26,855 – £30,270
Subaru – £26,495 – £27,995
Toyota GT86 Coupe vs Audi TT Coupe
This review is chock-full of quality, and the new Audi TT Coupe might be the best one yet. Its iconic design remains in tact, and it’s just as thrilling as ever.
In fact, it’s even more fun than it’s ever been in the past. Whether you’re blasting your way through short distances or keeping it cool over longer ones, there is a lot of enjoyment to be had.
Each model gets the brand’s impressive steering system, which ensures the car always feels direct and sharp, no matter what speed you’re at.
In terms of the engines, our top pick is – perhaps surprisingly – a diesel. This TDI Ultra is cheap to run, and guns its way from a standstill to 62mph in 7.1 seconds. It’s front wheel drive only, but there is a quattro four wheel drive diesel that does 0-62 in 6.7 seconds.
The smallest petrol engine is the 1.8-litre unit. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but most buyers will overlook it in favour of the 2.0-litre TFSI petrol unit that can do 0-62 in 5.3 seconds when fitted with quattro and the automatic transmission. It’s an exciting, grippy model that won’t have you wishing you’d bought an SUV in the winter.
Where running costs are concerned, the TDI Ultra diesel is a champion. It costs £30 per year in road tax, and returns 60.1mpg economy. The four-wheel-drive 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine, meanwhile, is good for 52.3mpg at best.
Inside, comfort is good unless you specify the sports suspension that comes with the S line model. The regular setup is just fine, and should be prioritised if comfort means alot to you.
If you need to be treated like royalty, you can add the optional Magnetic Ride suspension.
Even without it, the sculpted seats will support you and cushion you from broken roads, while insulation is good. On the motorway, the Audi TT Coupe doubles as a relaxed cruiser.
The dashboard is typical Audi fare – elegant and simple, while in terms of practicality, the Audi TT Coupe sports a bigger boot than the Toyota (305-litres), that can be extended to 712 by folding the rear seats.
There are two rear seats, but to be honest most buyers will likely see that room in the back as extra boot space. Still, if you’ve got kids, they’ll love to spend some time in here.
Verdict Of Our 2017 Toyota GT86 Coupe Review
There is only so many times we can mention how amazing it is that a sports coupe like this is so affordable in a single review, and the truth is that such affordability comes at a price. Sure, this is a rear-wheel-drive, 197bhp sports car, but the sobering phrase “value for money” will be enough to put off some purists.
It’s reliable, fairly fast, practical and fun to drive, but its interior is basic, its engine is gutless compared to rivals and it costs a lot to run. Truth be told, there is a lot to weigh up where the Toyota GT86 Coupe is concerned.