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Toyota GT86: Buying guide and review (2012-present)

Toyota GT86: Buying guide and review (2012-present) Classic and Performance Car
Toyota GT86 Toyota GT86 Toyota GT86 Toyota GT86 Toyota GT86 Toyota GT86 Toyota GT86 Toyota GT86
Journalists, eh? We bang on about the dearth of naturally aspirated, front-engine, rear-drive cars with modest grip, and when we finally get one, all we do is find fault. Many of the initial reviews for the Toyota GT86 were less than glowing, criticised for the rather lacklustre engine. Even the handling came in for flak. Others, though, raved about the little Toybaru, and we’ve since recognised that, with a few well-chosen mods, it can indeed be the drivers’ car it always wanted to be.
The Subaru boxer engine, in this case a naturally aspirated 2-litre with a Toyota fuelling system (featuring both direct and port injection) sits well back and low down in the chassis to aid agility and drives the rear wheels via a choice of conventional six-speed manual or six-speed paddleshift auto gearboxes, with a Torsen mechanical limited-slip diff and switchable VSC three-mode stability control as standard. In fact you got plenty of standard kit for the £24,995 list price (the auto was £1500 more), including 17-inch alloys, bi-xenons, dual-zone air-con, Bluetooth and LED daytime running lights. 
Which one to buy?
The first thing to know is that the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 are essentially the same car, although, out of the box, the Toyota has softer springs at the front and stiffer ones at the rear, promoting extra playfulness over the Subaru’s keener turn-in and extra stability. It must be galling for Subaru, whose hardware underpins both cars, that its own version is outsold in most markets. In the UK, the ratio is almost ten to one.
The TRD (Toyota Racing Development) special edition was introduced in March 2014 at a steep £31,495 for the manual. It was chiefly a cosmetic exercise, though its bigger, 18-inch alloys and Yokohama Advan Sports in place of the regular car’s Michelin Primacy eco tyres brought a newfound edge to the handling.
The automatic gearbox is best avoided – despite the paddles behind the wheel, it’s an old-style slushbox and the manual is much better suited to the character of the car.
For 2015MY Toyota introduced a number of variants, including the heavily bewinged Aero (an extra £2500) and the entry-level Primo (£2500 less than the regular car at £22,495). We’d be happy with a regular GT86/BRZ. Just think of it as the starting point…
Performance and specs
Engine 1998cc, flat-four
Power 197bhp @ 7000rpm
Torque 151lb ft @ 6400-6600
Transmission Six-speed manual (six-speed auto optional), rear-wheel drive, LSD
0-60mph 7.6sec
Top speed 140mph
Insurance group 33
Fuel consumption 36.0mpg

Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 2570mm
Length 4240
Width 1775mm
Height 1285mm
Weight 1240kg
Common problems
• The flat-four is pretty much bombproof, experts agree. Mark Gillam of tuning specialist Abbey Motorsport says there have been a few minor issues: noisy high-pressure fuel pumps, oil leaks from the rear of the driver’s side cylinder head, a misfire under load that’s cured by an updated engine map. 
• All should be covered by the five-year warranty, though they are getting tougher on cars that have had forced induction.
• While reliability isn’t generally a problem, power delivery is – particularly the dip in the torque curve at around 4000rpm. ‘More a valley of death,’ grimaces Iain Litchfield of Litchfield Imports. A remap, possibly together with a freer-breathing intake and exhaust, will help here, while adding up to 20-30bhp and a shot of character. Many remaps come with extra goodies like throttle-blips on downchanges. EcuTek is widely regarded as one of the best.
• Then there are the various forced induction options. ‘If you do a lot of track work and want to hold a drift, you really need the extra power,’ says Iain. Both Litchfield and Abbey Motorsport favour superchargers over turbos, as they put less stress on the engine and don’t overwhelm the rear tyres. 
• Around 300bhp is a safe bet. ‘We’ve done 35 to 40 conversions so far and not had any problems,’ says Mark Gillam. ‘The thing is, it was built as a tuner’s car.’
• Both the manual gearbox itself and the clutch are proving robust, even on tuned cars. On some cars the gearshift can baulk going into second, especially when cold. It’s possible to improve the shift with an oil change and/or clutch adjustment.
• Various suspension packages and wheel and tyre upgrades are available. ‘It kind of lurches in and out of oversteer in standard form, but it can be made much more benign and predictable,’ says Iain Litchfield. 
• Ditching the standard eco tyres is probably the best upgrade you can make, followed by springs and anti-roll bar. Abbey’s Mark Gillam warns against over-tyring a car that hasn’t been tuned, but for a tuned car, stickier rubber is essential. He also recommends a Hunter four-wheel alignment. 
• Standard brakes are fine for road driving, even with up to 300bhp, though it’s not unusual for them to squeal – a change of pad compound usually fixes it.
• Look out for rust bubbling up at the bottom of the quarter-light pillar on both front windows. Paint chipping is common, as is water in the rear light clusters.
• The driver’s seat side bolster is prone to wear, and many cars suffer annoying rattles. Anything emanating from within the dash is likely to be tricky to fix.
Owners clubs, forums and websites
• gt86ownersclub.co.uk
• gt86.org.uk
• subarubrzforum.com
• ft86club.com
• litchfieldimports.co.uk
• abbeymotorsport.co.uk
• fensport.co.uk
Summary and prices
The GT86 and BRZ are actually resisting depreciation pretty well. Very few cars have yet dipped below £15k, which is a realistic starting point for higher-mileage privately advertised 2012 examples. Up to £17k gives you a wide choice of 2012/13 cars with low miles and full histories, including from within the official dealer network. Options worth looking out for include leather/Alcantara trim with heated front seats (£1600 when new) and Toyota’s ‘Touch and Go’ infotainment system and satnav (£750).
Words: Peter Tomalin/evo magazine
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Last updated: 12th Apr 2016
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Toyota GT86
12992 27995 GBP
  • Toyota GT86

    £26,690 £26,690

    Variant name:D-4S PRO ,Derivative:MK1 (GT1) ,Variant: 2.0 PRO

    • Year: 2018
    • Mileage: 1200 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    £26,690 £26,690
    Vantage Motor Group-Vantage Toyota Leeds
    0113 887 9634 View contact number
  • 2014 TOYOTA GT86 2.0 D-4S L Petrol Manual 30000 Grey

    £14,650 £14,650

    STUNNING EXAMPLE with GREAT SPEC, LOW MILES and FULL TOYOTA MAIN AGENT SERVICE HISTORY. 30-03-2019 MOT plus 3mths [Extendable] 'CrystalClear' nationwide parts/Labour/Recovery cover. Very well presented throughout in Dark-Grey with rear deck spoiler and 18" alloys on matching premium tyres. Interior features Black Full Leather [Heated] seats [stitched red] with lumbar support, Adjustable leather multi-function steering wheel, Non smoking owner. HPI CLEAR with report. All handbooks in owner pack with service book [PDI + 3 services] and x2keys. Spec inc: Xenon Headlamps, Keyless entry/start, Climate Control with Air conditioning, Cruise Control, Multimedia inc: Bluetooth Phone and Audio-Stream, RDS, CD, USB, AUX. Electric Windows, Power-folding door mirrors, Toyota Security. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL: 01332 854631. Viewing by appointment only. P/X and Extended Warranties available.

    • Mileage: 30000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.998
    For sale
    £14,650 £14,650
  • Toyota GT86

    £13,950 £13,950

    Climate Control Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Cruise Control, Sports Seats, Auto Lights, Powered Folding Mirrors, Keyless Entry, Push Button Start, Hill Start Assist, Isofix Child Seat Preperation, HID Headlights, Parking Sensors, Tinted Glass, ABS, Traction Control, Power Steering, Remote Central Locking, Electric Windows, Multiple Airbags, CD Player, AUX/USB 1 Owner, Toyota Touch & Go navigation system, 17 Inch alloy wheels, Full Toyota service history, More pictures coming soon

    • Mileage: 42000 mi
    • Engine size: 1998
    For sale
    £13,950 £13,950
  • GT86 D-4S

    £13,989 £13,989

    Welcome to the sale of this super low mileage, enthusiast owned GT86. The car is in showroom condition and drives as you would expect of a car with this mileage. A really great drivers car perfect for those twisty B roads and guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you drive it. MANAFACTURERS WARRANTY REMAINING. Upgrades include Bonnet,Roof,Boot Stripe Decal available in Black/Silver, Side Stripe Decal Available in Black or Silver, Standard Features - upgraded 18" Alloy Wheels, 6.1in Touch Screen, Bluetooth Connectivity, Automatic Phonebook Download, Cruise Control, Dual Zone Auto A/C, Hill-Start Assist, Toyota Touch Audio System - CD MP3/WMA, USB for MP3 Players and iPod, Music Streaming, Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) Seats. 4 seats, Silver, 3 owners. HPi Clear. As an APPROVED RAC DEALER all of our vehicles are inspected to RAC standards. This enables us to provide every vehicle with a Nationwide RAC warranty for 90 days. 12 and 24 month policies available.

    • Mileage: 12000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.998
    For sale
    £13,989 £13,989
  • Toyota GT86

    £17,950 £17,950

    Heated Seats, Climate Control Air Conditioning, Cruise Control, Bluetooth, Auto Lights, Keyless Entry, Push Button Start, Powered Folding Mirrors, Hill Start Assist, Isofix Child Seat Preperation, Daytime Running Lights, HID Headlights, Tinted Glass, ABS, Traction Control, Power Steering, Remote Central Locking, Electric Windows, Multiple Airbags, AUX/USB 2 Owners, Full Black Leather, 6.1 Inch Touch-Screen Display, 17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Manufacturers warranty until May 2020, Full Toyota Service History

    • Mileage: 15000 mi
    • Engine size: 1998
    For sale
    £17,950 £17,950