10 things that make the Toyota GT86 special


It seems justified to utter the immortal words “Future classic” in the same breath as “Toyota GT86“. In the words of Autocar road test editor, Matt Prior: “…(The GT86 has) altered the sports car genre…(it is) the performance car made relevant again…”.

But just what is it that makes GT86 so special? We take a look at 10 of its most interesting, impressive, and lesser-known attributes.

1. The name


The name ‘GT86’ references two of the most important sports cars in Toyota’s history – the 2000GT and the Corolla GT Coupé (AE86). It also comes from the car’s development code ‘086A’.

What makes the name particularly clever though, is the fact it’s also a nod to the boxer engine’s 86mm x 86mm square bore and stroke, and the 86mm diameter of the model’s chrome-tipped twin exhausts.

2. The styling

Toyota GT86

During development for GT86, a 2000GT was parked next to the clay GT86 design model to allow the designers to infuse its spirit int0 the new car. Cues such as the upswept rear side windows and pinched rear-end are inspired by the classic model.

3. The size

GT86 design 02

At 4,240mm long by1,775 wide; the GT86 is the world’s most compact four-seat sports car. Its highly aerodynamic bodyshell has been stretched tight over the mechanical elements.

4. The awards


The GT86 is a multi award-winning car. Since its launch in 2012, it’s been showered with gongs from Top Gear, Pistonheads, Auto Express, Autocar, CarBuyer, The Telegraph, Honest John and even Fleetworld!

A host of additional accolades – including Vehicle Dynamics International Car of the Year 2012 – boost the car’s bragging rights even further.

5. The Jeremy Clarkson smile


Notoriously hard to please; Jeremy Clarkson pulled this joyous facial expression during a first drive of GT86.

Clarkson fell head-over-heels for the car, and beamed: “Everything about the GT86 is immediate – and brilliant.”

He added: “It will put a smile on the face of every motoring enthusiast in the world.”

6. The engineer’s vision


The GT86 was jointly developed with Subaru, and from the off, GT86 chief engineer Tetsuya Tada and his Subaru counterpart, Toshio Masuda, were determined to keep three key elements in the new car: rear-wheel drive, no turbocharging and ordinary tyres. Thousands of man hours were spent ensuring the car was just right.

7. The purity


The GT86 is the epitome of sports cars purity. There is a near-perfect 53:47 front-to-rear weight distribution and the engineering design includes parts that can easily be adjusted or customised so that owners can tailor the car to personal preferences. The grade line-up is simple – there’s just the standard GT86 or the GT86 TRD.

8. The impressive practicality and low running costs


GT86 owners tell us they’re returning impressive economy figures and have been blown away by the practicality of their cars.  

Carla Taylor, a marketing manager from Worcestershire explained: “I stay in London during the week, so I just load up the boot with my case and my work stuff and it’s absolutely fine.”

Data communications engineer, Shaun Kent, also complimented the boot space and said: “I find it a lot more practical than my Yaris…the boot space is really good!”

25-year old aerospace engineer Aniel Ganatra said: “I’m getting 46mpg out of it driving to work and back, so I was more than impressed with that!”

9. The culture


There is a vibrant owner’s club for GT86 in the UK that hosts meet-ups and a series of lively forums for members. Toyota also runs owner track days, and drift tutorials. Because GT86 is real wheel drive, it makes an ideal drifting car – it was the car that Idris Elba learnt to drift in for the TV show ‘Idris Elba: King of Speed’. There are a number of safe and legal track days where you can exploit the car’s tail-happy character, such as Driftland UK.

10. The uniqueness

Toyota GT86 Blue

The GT86 costs £25,110. For the money, it is the only brand-new rear-wheel drive 2+2 sports coupé you can buy (excluding its Subaru BRZ sister car). Why not get behind the wheel? Leave a comment below stating your interest, and we’ll be in touch shortly.

Where next?
Build your GT86
Hear from GT86 owners about what it’s like to live with
See all of the awards that GT86 has won
Watch ‘Drift King’ Keichi Tsuchiya hit the track in a GT86

By Eliott Farr


  1. Do you think its a better car (or better looking) than the last Celica. Which I bought. i’m looking at the GT86 as possibly my next car but still love my Celica. And for the same money I can’t rule out a 2nd hand Z4 or Boxter.

  2. Hi Alan. The GT86 was built under the philosophy of being the best driver’s car possible. This meant not chucking loads of power in it, but crafting the perfect balance between power and handling. The GT86 has been well-received by everyone we’ve spoken to, from motoring journalists to everyday drivers (check out the reaction it received at our recent Toyota School Sports Day – http://po.st/emp32m). We can’t speak for better looking, that comes down to how you feel about its looks, but what we do recommend is don’t write it off until you’ve at least given it a test drive. Hope this helps Alan.

  3. Is it true that for a spark plug change, it involves engine removal as the the boxer engine is shoe horned into such a proportionately tiny space? If so, this is ridiculous waste of the owners money at service time.

    1. Hi Richard,

      Complete engine removal is not needed, but due to the horizontally opposed pistons in the boxer engine, the engine should be unbolted and raised slightly to access the spark plugs.

      Sorry about this.


      1. I have 2018 GT86 and recently just changed the spark plug.

        No need to raise the engine
        Just using special tools and skills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To be the first to hear about all of our latest news, offers and events, check the box below, we’ll send these communications by email, phone, SMS or post. Be assured that Toyota will only share your personal information with companies that are an integral part of fulfilling the services we deliver. If you would like to find out more about how we process your data please visit our privacy policy for details.

I understand that I can unsubscribe at any time.