Toyota GT 86 prototype

16 Nov, 2012 10:15am Andrew English

We drive a development version of the Toyota GT 86, which trials new tech for the coupe


The standard GT 86 is a remarkable car, and this development version seems to be a backward step in terms of driving fun. But chief engineer Tada-san points out that there are some customers who are already demanding chassis upgrades and more power. He envisages these updates costing an additional £1,000 – and that seems like a good-value price for such extensive modifications.

Before Toyota releases a hybrid GT 86 or boosts the power, chief engineer Tada-san wants to focus on sharpening up the coupe even further. And at an exclusive event in Spain, we drove a development car trialling some of the features Toyota wants to introduce over the next few years.

The first thing that strikes you about this car is the large rear wing. It’s part of a series of aero updates that won’t suit all tastes, but helps to make the GT 86 more slippery and give it greater downforce.

The 18-inch BBS alloys are specially developed for the car, and feature larger versions of the tyres fitted to the standard GT 86. There’s also an improved limited-slip diff, plus stiffeners on each B-pillar which help to strengthen the bodyshell.

Adjustable Sachs dampers are being worked on, but these weren’t fitted to the test car. Still, it did have a free-flowing new exhaust, which makes more noise than the standard car throughout the rev range – although it’s a little too loud at the moment, as it drones and booms all the time.

More interesting are the bigger tyres. The standard GT 86 is sold with exactly the same tyres as the Prius hybrid, but the development model’s grippier rubber gives sharper turn-in and makes it feel as if the car is turning around your backbone. However, the regular GT 86 is arguably more fun, with a playfulness this development car can’t match.

Even so, the enhanced Toyota will make a lot of sense to those drivers wanting a more focused track car. Tada-san is keen to release some of these updates as a package for the GT 86, for which buyers can expect to pay around £1,000 on top of the regular car’s £24,995 price tag.

Key specs

  • Price: £26,000 (est)
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl petrol
  • Power: 197bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 7.6 seconds
  • Top speed: 140mph
  • Economy: 36.2mpg
  • CO2: 181g/km
  • Equipment: 18-inch BBS alloys, limited-slip diff, electric windows
  • On sale: Late 2013