When it comes to the Toyota 86 the list of those just raving about it is getting longer and longer, and coming from weirder and weirder places.
Article written by MOD of the Trade Me team
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I've just spent a weekend in Northland arguing about the internet and driving Toyota's newest sports car offering. Clearly the boys in Palmy haven't heard about my dodgy ability behind a wheel, because they loaned me a brand spanking new Toyota GT86. Looking for all the world like a scaled down Aston Martin, the GT86 was a surprise in every way.
Unlike the psychotically powerful Nissan GTR or twitchy Mitsi Evo, the GT86 harks back to a time when handling and geometry counted for as much (if not more) than a wall of horsepower. That's not to say the 2 litre boxer engine doesn't deliver - it does with a fat mid range and a tactile high end hit, but you can get all that power to the ground earlier and for longer in the GT86 than in most cars.
And when it finally starts to let go, it does so gradually, like a lovers parting touch; so you can get it back under control easily without raising a sweat. This is the opposite of my old Lotus 7 which would hang on like a limpet, then be totally unrecoverable once it did let go. There's also lots of nice design features, like the thick leather pad on the outside of each knee to help keep the driver in place while the lithe 86 is pulling a couple of Gs in the twisties.
What's most noteworthy about the 86 is the formula they used to achieve it. It's old school. Take a torquey engine, put it in the front, deliver the power out the back, give it a stiff chassis, add less weight and put the driver in the middle. This back to basics approach is refreshing and reminds me of a lot of the cars from 20 years ago.
This month in MOD's Motors I take a look at some great front-engined, rear wheel drive, manual cars that share the same aesthetic as the shiny new GT86. We've also got 10 tickets to give away to the National Superbike Championships and the good oil from the faithful. Let's get into it........