I have a new dream car. It costs a mere £24,995, isn't as fast as it could be, and is built by the same company that makes the Prius. But it is brilliant and I really, really want one.

If you haven't guessed – or had the surprise ruined by reading the heading – I'm on about the GT86. You probably already have a good idea what it's about – essentially it's a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive coupe developed by Toyota and Subaru (hence its twin, the Subaru BRZ). It's fitted with a 2.0 boxer engine from the Impreza that produces 197 BHP and gets you to 62 mph in 7.7 seconds.

It's a car that has really divided opinion. What Car? said it didn't live up to the Audi TT on the road, yet Evo described it as a complete cracker that restores your faith in cars. Car complained that it didn't have the power to drift around tight hairpin bends, but Autocar reckoned it had the ability to make every roundabout an oversteery joy.

After reading reviews like these for over a year, I'd been longing for a go in one. That finally happened yesterday at Millbrook when the good people at Toyota handed me the keys and a map of a fun, local road route.

First impressions were excellent. The seating position makes you feel like you're driving a serious sports car – not £25,000 worth of coupe. Squeezing the accelerator does little to quell your excitement, this thing sounds raspy and brilliant.

Now, if I may, I'd like to tackle the issue of how fast it is. If, like a lot of the motoring journalists who've criticised the GT86, you're more used to supercars worth several times the price, yes it's going to feel a little slow. And no, it's not the torquiest engine, but if you're scared of the redline can I suggest a diesel? If you're willing to work the gears (and you will be, the gearbox is lovely), you can make some serious progress in the GT86.

Joining a dual carriageway I out-dragged the fastest car on British roads – a diesel Audi. He was trying too, bless him, but he didn't stand a chance. Do you need more proof that the GT86 is fast enough? Its sixth gear means it's a competent cruiser too – I would happily have carried on driving along the dual carriageway at fairly legal speeds and arrived at my destination without too many aches and pains.

Fortunately I didn't though. I came off the dual carriageway and hit the B-roads, where most magazines agree the GT86 excels. And you know what, it really does. Going around corners made me giggle, while slower traffic was overtaken with ease.

If you hadn't worked it out by now, I really like the GT86. It's an absolute bargain and is perfect for someone who wants a car to be fun at speeds that won't cost you your licence. I won't ruin the review by talking about the size of the boot (I didn't look, I was having too much fun, but apparently it's not great), or about fuel consumption figures. All I will say is, if you've got a spare £25,000 and want fun, this is it. Buy one, and then let me borrow it.
05/03/2013 06:28

I totally agree with you. I had a privilege to test GT86 while there was still snow in Finland (also wrote an article in my blog and video on Youtube) but it was just amazing on winding roads. The only problem is that they have ruined it with taxes here in Finland. It's 48k€ in total.

I'd love to re-live that experience though.


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