A decade ago the motoring world was a buzz with the talk of a new rear wheel drive sports car coming from Toyota. It was displayed at motor shows and drip fed to the media and public with photos of what is coming.

In 2012 Toyota released the 86GT and 86GTS which was designed in partnership with fellow Japanese company Fuji Heavy Industries (who supplied the engine and driveline) and also sold as a Subaru BRZ.

The Toyota 86 was designed as a modern-day version of the classic Toyota AE86 from the 1980s and seven years later it is still selling to a range of customers, however the focus still being on motoring enthusiasts.

Getting behind the wheel of the 86GTS automatic, equipped with Dynamic Performance Pack consisting of Brembo Brakes, SACHS Suspension and unique black 17 inch alloy wheels, we thought there would be something serious that would grab our attention, unfortunately not.

The 86 comes standard with a 2.0L boxer engine with D-4S direct injection with 6-speed automatic transmission (manual available) and produces 152kW. The engine feels well underpowered when matched with the auto which is a little sad. 

One thing we couldn’t fault is the handling and stopping. Toyota have done an amazing job on the handling and this meant that corners were never any problem.

Sitting really low in the 86 gives a well-balanced car and good centre of gravity. The steering is very direct and tight chassis and suspension with anti-roll bars combine superbly. The 17-inch wheels and tyres are a good combination and help the 86GTS stick to the road.

With the addition of the Dynamic Performance Pack (optional extra), the 86GTS has a solid brake package with the strong Brembos. These brakes are so good that in a way it makes up for the lack of engine power.

The interior does feel like you have stepped into a race car with air-conditioning. The dashboard design is elegant but simple with a clear gauge display and switches intuitively placed for easy reach. The cruise control settings are on a stalk behind the steering wheel which feels as if it was an afterthought but is still practical.

Overall the Toyota 86 is a bit of fun but get a manual if you like spirited driving on weekends. 

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