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Overrated: Toyota GT86

10 months ago

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Steve Sutcliffe | Journalist


22 August 2023

Considering the hype behind it, and how damn long it took to appear, the GT86 ought to have been a masterpiece when, finally, it was unleashed upon the world in December 2011. Yet despite the anticipation – or perhaps because of it – there was a faint but undeniable sense of anti-climax when the car was unveiled at that year’s Tokyo Motor Show

Partly this was because the production version didn’t look anything like as sexy as the numerous concepts we’d been teased by up to that point, none more so than the knee-tremblingly lovely FT-HS of 2007. But mostly, you suspect, it was because the car had just 197bhp and could barely top 140mph. In an era of increasingly potent German uber-sports cars, surely it needed just a little bit more than that to compete?

Absolutely not, claimed Toyota and Subaru, who had developed the car jointly, Subaru providing the flat-four engine while Toyota pretty much did the rest. The GT86/BRZ was about purity of purpose and less being more, they said, so it didn’t need fat tyres and a zillion horsepower (and it certainly didn’t get them).

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