On sale throughout Europe in the summer of 2012, the Toyota GT 86 is an entirely driver-oriented vehicle. It gives form to the pure, intrinsic joy of driving through precise, instantaneous response to even the smallest throttle or steering inputs, for those who regard driving as a passion rather than a necessity.
With a low, highly aerodynamic bodyshell stretched tight over the engineering hard points, the new GT 86 is based on an entirely new platform. Shunning a heavy, large displacement powertrain for its performance, the GT 86 returns to Toyota’s sporting roots with the world’s only combination of a compact, front-mounted, free-revving, horizontally opposed ‘boxer’ petrol engine and rear-wheel drive.
This unique powertrain format combines with the world’s most compact four-seat design, light weight, low inertia and a low centre of gravity for the best possible power-to-weight ratio. These attributes award the GT 86 lively, accessible performance, highly engaging, readily exploitable dynamic abilities with minimal electronic intrusion, and maximum driving pleasure.
The boxer engine’s square bore and stroke set-up of 86 mm x 86 mm proves ideal, remaining faithful to Toyota’s long, sports engine history. The legendary 3M engine of the 2000GT and the 1G-G engine of the Supra were both in-line six-cylinder configurations with a square bore and stroke of 75 mm. And the in-line, four-cylinder unit in the Celica and MR2 had a square bore and stroke of 86 mm.
The flat-four format of the front-mounted boxer engine combines with the lowest driver hip-point of any Toyota production vehicle -just 400 mm- to give the GT 86 an ultra-low centre of gravity of only 460 mm.
Both the powertrain and driving position have been set as low and as far back as possible to optimise balance, giving the GT 86 near-perfect, 53:47 weight distribution. The ideal static weight distribution varies according to engine power; a 51:49 front bias suiting vehicles with approximately 150 hp, a similar chassis with 300 hp better suited to a 50:50 distribution.
Toyota engineers established that, during spirited driving, the Toyota GT 86′s 53:47 front bias produced the ideal response to even subtle steering, throttle and brake inputs, allowing drivers to readily control dynamic weight distribution for the best possible vehicle behaviour.
Fine-tuning of the GT 86′s suspension, brakes and steering maximises the benefits of its minimal mass, supercar-rivalling lack of inertia and ultra-low centre of gravity, allowing drivers to fully exploit the purity of the new Toyota sports car’s outstandingly nimble handling, dynamic agility and cornering poise.
The front MacPherson strut and rear double wishbone suspension systems have been fine-tuned to react instantly to driver input. At 23 N/mm, the GT 86′s front spring rates are, in fact, softer than the 25 N/mm settings of its Subaru counterpart. This softer front spring rate deliberately allows for slight body roll on initial turn-in, creating the perfect relationship between steering feel and vehicle behaviour exhibited by a classic front-engine/rear-drive platform.
The GT 86′s 2.0 litre, naturally-aspirated petrol engine is the result of a joint development between Subaru and Toyota, bringing together their technical know-how and mutual passion for sports cars.
To Subaru’s newly developed, horizontally opposed, 1,998cc, four-cylinder boxer engine, Toyota has added its D-4S technology. With separate twin injectors for both direct and port injection, and a high compression ratio of 12.5:1, D-4S increases power and torque over a wide range of engine speeds without sacrificing fuel efficiency and environmental performance.
With a namesake 86 mm x 86 mm bore and stroke, the new engine develops 200 DIN hp at 7,000 rpm and maximum torque of 205 Nm at 6,600 rpm, giving the GT 86 brisk, engaging performance and a top speed of over 220 km/h. Conversely, the new Toyota sports car returns an estimated average fuel consumption of 6.9 l/100 km, and generates low CO2 emissions of around 160 g/km.
The flat-four engine may be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission offers quick, precise shifting via the highly engaging action of a tactile, short-throw lever, whilst the automatic transmission is controlled by sporting, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts.
Power is distributed to the rear wheels via a limited slip differential, optimising traction and grip under all driving conditions. And the GT 86′s ABS and switchable VSC safety systems have been specifically tuned to combine dynamic stability at the limit of the vehicle’s performance envelope with minimal electronic intrusion on the purity of the driving experience.