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
voices
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Data Analyst

    £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable software house is looking ...

    Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

    Commercial Litigation

    Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SO...

    BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried