Very few cars of late have created as much of a buzz amongst car enthusiasts as the Toyota GT86. The joint venture between Subaru and Toyota has produced a car that has all of its efforts pointed in the direction of driving pleasure. GT86’s don’t cost the Earth, are Toyota bullet proof and as previously mention, a riot to drive. TRD, or Toyota Racing Development as they are known in full, has got their hands on these fantastic sports cars producing a limited run of just 250 for the UK with a few added toys over the standard car. We have the keys to one of them…
Ok, the obvious question first. What is the difference between the standard car and this TRD model? The answer is not too much actually. Firstly there is that much more aggressive bodykit which fills out he profile of the car nicely and gives the machine a butch appearance. Next up are the wider Yokohama tyres in tandem with a set of shiny new alloy wheels. However, the most mechanical change you will find is the addition of a quad exhaust system. Now the 86 is a great car as standard and so not medaling with a successful formula is wise, that said the car could do with an extra 20 or 30BHP, something the TRD does not bring to the table. 197BHP, 0-62MPH in 7.6 seconds are unchanged from the standard car.
Approaching the TRD you get to admire that new slightly swollen body. It really does make it look like a serious bit of kit and does a very good job of separating it from the base car. The profile is sleek but this cars character is written all over it. It just screams rear wheel drive fun! Long bonnet, snug cockpit and a sort rear overhang are all things that get us petrol heads a bit excited.
Getting into the car and being hugged by those heavily bolstered seats puts you in the prime position to survey all of the things Toyota are getting right with this car. The dashboard is focused with the rev counter being placed centrally. Its console isn’t cluttered and just houses the necessities. Rear seating may be a bit of a squeeze but rest assured that there is space in the car to store four spare track tyres.
Hitting the starter button brings the GT86 TRD to life with those new exhausts giving the car a slightly deeper tone. Bumbling around town the GT86 is comfortable with a much more compliant ride than many competitors. The slightly larger alloys don’t thud into potholes and the steering is well weighted. Visibility is good allowing this car to be considered as a genuine daily driver. Picking up the pace, the GT86 shines bright with excellent handling and the most delicious gear changes. It just seems to leap from bend to bend like a deer, completely effortless in its function. The steering at speed is direct and full of feeling allowing accurate and rewarding corning capabilities. The new rubber is noticeable when directly comparing this car to the standard. Where the base model was quite loose around the hips, the TRD has more grip allowing for higher cornering speeds. A cheeky drift is still very possible, but you can feel that this car is a bit more about lap time and not getting an ASBO. Does that take some of the fun away from the GT86? Yes and no. Whilst going sideways in this car is intoxicating and clearly a very big selling point, the TRD has a bit more focus, that in my opinion, makes hitting an apex a bit more thrilling. Putting your foot to the floor reveals brisk acceleration but, as mentioned earlier, the 2.0 litre boxer could do with just a tad more power. Throttle response is sharper as the new exhaust system aids the engine to breath better.
The Toyota GT86 TRD is a brilliant car and a real wake up call to all those manufacturers who gave up on the affordable sports car. Every time I get behind the wheel of this car I leave it with a big dirty grin on my face. The TRD does demand a premium of £6,500 (making it £31,495) over the standard car and for that you get all of the previously mentioned extras and an exclusive spot in this one of 250 club. Is it worth the extra money? In short, no. The TRD is a fantastic machine but the price does leave me and many others thinking what would we do with a standard GT86 and a spare £6,500.