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SECTOR Coupe PRICE £24,995 – £26,495 FUEL 36.2 – 39.8mpg CO2 164 – 181g/km
Although GT86 isn’t a core fleet proposition for Toyota, it has a vital role to play by spearheading a return to exciting products and luring potential buyers for other models into showrooms. Judging by the attention it was receiving at Toyota’s annual fleet conference last December, it won’t have much problem doing so.
The problem it faces is the classic sports car formula of a revvy naturally aspirated front engine and rear-wheel drive is disappearing from this end of the market. Sandwiched between the German premium brands and Mazda MX-5 in pricing, GT86 instead finds itself up against the likes of the Scirocco and RCZ, which are actually very different cars.
Toyota’s problem here will be convincing those used to soft-touch interior plastics and peppy turbocharged engines, even diesels, to shift over to a car which needs to be revved hard and feels solid but a bit plasticky inside. Its single, high-spec line-up may be well equipped, but some buyers will be put off by first impressions.
They’re missing out, because none of its closest rivals come alive in the same way on a cross-country drive. The GT86 is impeccably well set up and easy to control, giving plentiful grip and loads of driver feedback, all accompanied by an aggressive, snarling exhaust note above 4,500rpm. It’s a thoroughly involving experience, without being too tiring and rough for daily use or too challenging for novice drivers to enjoy too.
Most importantly, it’s a reminder that huge power really isn’t the base requirement for an entertaining driver’s car. And while £25,000 sounds expensive for £17,000 Renaultsport Clio on-paper figures, GT86’s simplistic thrills, Subaru/Toyota parts bin raiding and likely modern classic residuals should keep ownership costs down. Few cars are as addictive for the money.