MotorTorque's sneak peek at the new Toyota GT86
Over at the Pinkstones Toyota dealership in Stoke-On-Trent yesterday, a VIP event was hosted to gain exclusive access to the Toyota GT86.
MotorTorque got the chance to get up close and personal with the brand new sports coupe, a week before its official launch in the UK. Here are our first impressions of this exciting new car.
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Those who had a pass could not only get right up to the car in the metal, but sit inside, examine the engine and boot, and even arrange a test drive in the car later this month (if you're a potential customer that is)...
To us and every other visitor at the event, the GT86 is a desirable looking car. The three-door coupe has a wide and low-slung bodyshell, complete with large rounded chrome exhausts at the rear which are sure to grab attention.
Sitting at the front the car felt very pleasant to be in, the leather was top quality and the cloth had a very soft feel. The panels and switches featured high quality scratch-free plastics, mixed with solid build quality.
In the driver's seat it's noticeable that the clutch pedal is a lot closer to your feet compared to the gas and brake pedals. This presumably is to allow quick gear changing whenever you really put your right foot down.
However while plenty of space is provided at the front, the two rear seats have limited leg room, while the boot is compact with 243 litres of luggage space at minimum. It was mentioned at this event however that if you fold the rear seats, you'll have enough loading space for a full set of track day tyres.
Under the bonnet we saw the 197bhp 2.0-litre Boxer engine which will also feature in the near identical Subaru BRZ coupe. What was noticeable was just how much the engine you could see despite all the other surrounding components.
There was definitely some free space at the front, which makes us wonder whether Toyota could fit a bigger, more powerful engine for some kind of update or special edition model.
Listening to the Toyota dealership employees at the event and reading the brochure provided, it's clear a lot of emphasis is being placed on this car being a real driver's machine.
It's not all about brute power or manipulative driver aids. With its front-mounted, free-revving petrol engine driving the rear wheels, Toyota says the GT86 will give control back to the driver.
In theory the GT86 is a sports car which can still make you feel safe and relaxed but also provide lots of fun when the driver wants it.
The model we saw in the dealership was painted in a gloss red finish, and came with black stripes on the roof and the sides.
The bodyshell of the GT86 can also be finished in five metallic paint jobs or a white pearlescent finish. The metallic colours include silver, grey, black, blue and orange.
The stripes meanwhile are entirely optional and can be finished in black or silver gloss; customers can choose one or both sets of the stripes.
Speaking of options, the full list of optional features with the GT86 is overall limited. Some gadgets like the satellite navigation and Bluetooth will come at extra cost, but the large majority of exterior and interior features are standard.
That means you automatically get 17" 10-spoke alloy wheels as standard, as well as other luxuries like cruise control and an engine start button.
The seats in the interior are made of black fabric in standard form, but black fabric and leather seats are available optional. There's also the optional Red Interior pack which we saw on the car in the showroom.
This option mixes black leather with red cloth, and adds red colouring to the steering wheel inserts, gear shift, handbrake and door handle inserts.
The week before a track-day event was hosted which saw some of Toyota's employees drive the GT86 around the Donington Park race circuit.
One of those lucky enough to get behind the wheel was at the VIP launch and sounded convinced that this car will put a smile on driver's faces, and also prove a real winner on the market.
The Toyota GT86 will go on sale in UK showrooms starting from 18 July 2012, pricing begins at £24,995.