Toyota GT86

The car in front isn't very practical

Price: From £24,995
Engine capacity: 2.0-litre naturally aspirated
Power output (PS @ rpm): 197 @ 7,000
Top speed (mph): 145
0-60 mph (seconds): 7.7
Fuel economy (mpg):
36.2
CO2 emissions (g/km): 181

In the snug racing seat to my left my friend Jason is grinning from ear to ear as we whiz along empty country lanes. He's a real car nut, has escaped the rat race to live out in the Home Counties (where there are plenty of tight corners and short lanes to thrash his old BMW along) and probably watches Top Gear religiously. I'd promised to give him a spin in the new Toyota GT86, the latest rear-wheel-drive road-brawler to hit the market, and he's clearly enjoying himself as I drone on about its 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine and low centre of gravity.

There's been a lot of buzz about the new coupe and savvy petrol heads like Jason are already forming a queue outside Toyota dealerships for the first proper sports car the company has produced since the days of the Celica, Supra and mid-engined MR2. It's a four-seat coupe in the classic formation (engine at the front, drive wheels at the rear) and it's just stupendous.

The engine's start-up note isn't particularly brutish and its looks, while certainly pretty, are hardly heart stopping, but it is on the road where its brilliance becomes clear. Hit a corner fast and the nose comes round swiftly without much in the way of body roll and if you dare push down your right foot, you'll be rewarded with a beautiful flick of the tail. It doesn't have buckets of power – its engine is just shy of 200bhp and you'll need to keep it above 4,500rpm to get the best of the engine – but there's more to having fun than mere power.

Don't get me wrong, the GT86 is fast enough, but its development team wanted to create a car for those who are bored with cars that are too powerful, have too much grip, cost too much and don't let the driver have any fun. And the Japanese boffins certainly got it right. Take the GT86 for a Saturday-morning blast as Jason and I did and you'll be able to push it further than any supercar you can't afford.

There are plenty of performance cars out there; Aston Martin, for example, has just announced the all-new Vanquish, which has set the motoring pulses racing in the last few weeks. It is powered by a 565bhp 6.0-litre V12 engine and will hit 60mph in just 4.1 seconds before topping out at 183mph. I'm sure it will be fantastic and grace the bedroom walls of many young boys, but you really need to be a millionaire with a racetrack or access to wide, open roads of southern Europe to justify owning one.

Whereas the GT86 costs just under £25k and is made by Toyota so will be fairly inexpensive to run. At the same time, it rewards real skill behind the wheel and bravery when throwing it at corners and challenging the rear end to follow. It is a car for people who enjoy driving.

Jason got married last year and has just bought a cute little cottage so it's not the most practical of cars for him – the rear seats are nothing more than a practical joke. They suggest you might be able to fit someone in there but you'll come away with groin strain and a bad back if you actually try to insert yourself (there's certainly no room for a child seat). He'd do better with something like a Ford Focus ST or Vauxhall Astra VXR hot hatch. Both are just as fun and very fast but boast such luxuries as proper rear seats and a decent-sized boots for practical things like the weekly shop, DIY supplies and a buggy. I can tell he'd rather have the GT86, though, and so would I.

Voices
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
News
i100
Life and Style
Great minds like Einstein don't think alike
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds This i...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

    £13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power