Toyota GT86: History
The Toyota GT86, our compact 2+2 coupe, is an entirely driver-focused machine, designed to deliver a classic sports car experience.
That means precise, instant response to the smallest throttle and steering inputs and the kind of performance demanded by those who believe driving is a passion, not a necessity.
The Toyota GT86 is the world’s most compact four-seat sports car, built on a new platform, with a highly aerodynamic bodyshell stretched tight over the car’s mechanical elements.
Thousands of man hours were spent meeting hundreds of development challenges. Throughout, Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada and his Subaru counterpart, Toshio Masuda, were determined to keep three key elements in the new vehicle: rear-wheel drive, no turbocharging and ordinary tyres.
Rather than fitting a heavy, large capacity powertrain, Toyota opted instead to go back to its sporting roots, installing a compact, front-mounted, free-revving, horizontally opposed ‘boxer’ petrol engine that drives the rear wheels.
The powertrain combines with the car’s light weight, low inertia and a low centre of gravity to achieve the best possible power-to-weight ratio. For the driver that means lively, accessible performance and dynamic character with minimal intrusion from electronic systems.
The thinking behind GT86 is to recapture the purity of the classic sports car experience. This has been achieved by a team of engineers passionate about their task, honed through competition and fine-tuned to satisfy the most discerning driver.
The engineering design includes parts that can easily be adjusted or customised so that owners can tailor the car to personal preferences. Making the car simple, for example by minimising the number of electronic control devices, means GT86 is relatively easy to personalise. And to support the aim of making GT86 fun, high performance tyres were rejected in favour of standard rubber.
The “eight six” in GT86 has played a significant part in the car’s development, being more than just a reference to its celebrated ancestor, the AE86 Corolla GT.
The theme was set with the car having the in-house development code 086A. The boxer engine’s 86mm x 86mm square bore and stroke are faithful to Toyota’s sports engine history: the 3M engine of the 2000GT, and the 1G-G which powered the Supra were both straight six-cylinder units with a 75mm-square bore and stroke, and the in-line four-cylinder engine later used for Celica and MR2 followed the same pattern with an 86mm bore and stroke.
Even the diameter of GT86’s chrome-tipped twin exhausts is 86mm.
Toyota GT86: Specs in detail
|Number of cylinders||4|
|Type||Horizontally opposed (boxer), normally aspirated|
|Fuel system||D-4S injection|
|Valve mechanism||16-valve DOHC|
|Bore x stroke (mm)||86 x 86|
|Max. power (bhp/kW @ rpm)||197/147 @ 7,000|
|Max. torque (Nm @ rpm)||205 @ 6,400 – 6,600|
|Diameter – front (mm)||294|
|Diameter – rear (mm)||290|
|Additional features||ABS, EBD, brake assist, VSC+, traction control|
|Type||Electric power steering, rack and pinion|
|Steering gear ratio||13.1:1|
|Min. turning radius – tyre (m)||5.4|
|Max. speed (mph)||140 (manual)
|0-62mph acceleration (sec)||7.6 (manual)
|Combined – WLTP data (mpg)||32.85||33.23|
|CO2 EMISSIONS & INSURANCE||Manual||Automatic|
|Combined- NEDC correlated data (g/km)||196||183|
|Overall length (mm)||4,240|
|Overall width (mm)||1,775|
|Overall height (mm)||1,320|
|Track – front (mm)||1,520|
|Track – rear (mm)||1,540|
|Front overhang (mm)||845|
|Rear overhang (mm)||825|
|Drag coefficient (Cd)||0.27|
|Interior length (mm)||1,615|
|Interior width (mm)||1,490|
|Interior height (mm)||1,060|
|Luggage capacity (l)||391|
|WHEELS & TYRES|
|Wheel size/tyre size||17in alloy/215/45R17|
|Kerb weight (kg)||1,239 – 1,273|
Toyota GT86: Reviews
Autocar: “The Toyota GT86 is a gem, and we adore it.” 5/5
Auto Express: “Combines great fun and excellent value in a good-looking package.” 4/5
Car Magazine: “A very fine sports car indeed.” 4/5
CarWow: “Very few cars of this type can beat the GT86 in terms of pure driver involvement.” 8/10
Evo: “Increasingly rare accessible rear wheel drive thrills.” 4/5
Top Gear: “The simplest and most exciting Toyota in years.” 8/10
Toyota GT86: Our Best Stories
GT86 pays tribute to its heritage with classic liveries
In 2015 we used the GT86 as a foundation to recreate the looks of six famous Toyota motorsport liveries. The Castrol Toyota Celica GT-Four WRC, Esso Ultron Tiger Toyota Supra and the Yatabe Speed Trial Toyota 2000GT were three of the celebrated models. Discover the other three classic liveries here.
Fredric Aasbø and the Donuts from Space
In 2017 we went big, inviting former Formula Drift champion Fredric Aasbø over to the UK to create a one-of-a-kind artwork that could be seen from outer space. Find out more about how we put his tyre-shredding abilities to the test.
Toyota creates manga-inspired Initial D Concept
Who wants tofu? Back in 2015 we gave the GT86 a manga makeover, taking inspiration from the wildly popular Initial D animation. This is how and why we did it.