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):
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.

Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
Nemanja Matic holds the Capital One Cup with Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th-century cartographer created the atlas
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Water Jetting / HGV Driver - Industrial Services

    £14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Skilled Labouring staff with id...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Executive - OTE £30,000

    £16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Salary: £16k - £20k Dependant o...

    Recruitment Genius: Accountant

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A specialist two partner firm o...

    Recruitment Genius: HGV Drivers - Class 1 and 2 - Excellent Pay and Benefits

    £16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Class 1 and 2 HGV Drivers are r...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot