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

Toyota GT86: Buying guide and review (2012-present) Classic and Performance Car
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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 cars for sale

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Toyota GT86
13490 26395 GBP
  • Toyota GT86

    £26,395 £26,395

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

    • Year: 2017
    • Mileage: 24 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    Bentleys Motor Group-Bentleys Toyota
    01925 594645 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Toyota GT86

    £18,995 £18,995

    Variant name:D-4S ,Derivative:MK1 (GT1) ,Variant: D-4S Satellite Navigation 9k used Toyota gt 86 navigation for sale essex

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 8900 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
  • Toyota GT86

    £16,000 £16,000

    Air Conditioning, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Stability Control, Trip Computer, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Push Button Start, ABS, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, Xenon Headlamps, Half Leather, Bluetooth, Alarm, Central Locking, Locking Wheel Nuts, Colour Coded Body, Auto Lighting, CD Player, Radio, Rear Spoiler, Metallic Paintwork, Front Fog Lamps, Heated Seats, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Height Adjustable Seat, Retractable Headrests, Full Main Dealer Service History, Part Exchange Available, Finance Available, Supplied with Warranty AZ Autos present for sale the stunning Toyota GT86 D4s in Glacier White finished with a martini stripe. When looking for a compact, low-weight and fun to drive sports car, the Toyota GT86 could be the car for you. Utilising a 197bhp 2.0-litre engine, The GT needs working hard if you want to make swift progress, but in fact the GT86 is more about handling than straight-line speed. With its classical layout, it''s tremendous fun to drive on twisty roads, and a hoot on a track. Additionally considering the vehicle is a sports car, it''s fairly well equipped, too with Bluetooth, cruise control and xenon lights. Our car is in a beautiful condition inside and out with a full Toyota service history with services carried out at 9k, 19k, 29k and 37k miles. A beautiful example that must be seen.You can also reserve this car for 48 hours with a £150 refundable deposit. Good Credit, Poor Credit, No Credit? We work with lenders to get you the best rates. Click to our website and apply for finance with a decision within 60 seconds. Only RAC Approved Dealers offer RAC BuySure; a guarantee that all of our vehicles have been prepared to the RAC 82 point Approved Preparation Standard and come with: A Car Data Check, a minimum 3 months RAC Warranty, 12 months RAC Breakdown Cover and RAC Accident Care. Buy from us with confidence. Please check our website for Warranty options and why not try our Part Exchange Valuation tool?

    • Mileage: 38243 mi
    • Engine size: 1998
    For sale
  • Toyota GT86

    £14,990 £14,990

    Bluetooth telephone connection, Cruise control, PAS, Trip computer, 6 speakers, MP3 compatible radio/single CD player, Touch screen audio system, USB connection, Auto dimming rear view mirror, Body colour door handles, Body colour door mirrors, Body coloured bumpers, Dual chrome tipped exhausts, Electric adjustable/heated/folding door mirrors, Electric front windows, Front fog lamps, Headlight washers, HID Headlights, Scuff plates, Aluminium foot rest, Aluminium pedals, Bench folding rear seat, Chrome inner door handles, Dual zone automatic air conditioning, Fabric seat trim, Front head restraints, Height adjustable driver's seat, Isofix rear child seat preparation, Leather gearknob, Leather parking brake handle, Leather steering wheel with chro

    • Mileage: 13015 mi
    • Engine size: 2000
    For sale
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