Advances in car technology have left a lot of motorists bemoaning the passing of true, seat-of-the-pants, hands on sports cars.

Toyota, however, must have heard their woeful cries because its GT86 is an antidote for those suffering enthusiasts.

It’s a true sports car offering brilliant handling, superb road holding and all the feedback from the steering that you could ever want.

It’s been designed to recapture the purity of the classic sports car experience with a front engined, rear-wheel-drive set-up and not a hint of a turbo charger.

Toyota made a name for itself with two-seater sports cars like the Celica and the Supra but since the last Celica was made some seven years ago, there has been nothing.

The wait, however, has been well worth it. The GT86 is a car which has all the credentials to make it the best of the best from the Japanese car maker.

In many ways, the design resembles the Celica but this is a far more macho car with stronger lines, a striking “face”, deep front spoiler and large oversized twin exhausts looking like two rear cannons.

This is a car which sits low to the ground but once inside it’s a snug cockpit with Alcantara sports seats, easy to reach short-throw gear shift and aluminium pedals.

The instrument panel is dominated by the large, centrally mounted rev counter with black figures on a white background making it easy to read.

The speedometer, however, with white on black figures was difficult to take in at a glance because it’s calibrated all the way up to 160mph so the numbers have to be small to make them fit in. All you can make out in daylight is the red illuminated pointer needle.

Sensibly, Toyota has put a digital speedometer readout in the centre of the rev counter so you can’t fall victim to a speed camera.

The car is described as 2+2 and there are seatbelts in the rear but the legroom in the back is very restricted. There is space for young children or, at a push, taking a friend to the local pub but you would feel uncomfortable over a long distance.

Toyota GT86 interior
Toyota GT86 interior
 

Luggage space, on the other hand, is excellent for a car of this size. Not only will the boot take a good sized suitcase but the rear seatback folds down completely flat so you can slide in two or three cases.

The GT86 has a push button starter and as soon as you push it you hear the very distinctive noise of a flat four boxer engine bursting into life.

The car has been built in co-operation with Subaru, which has it’s own version – the Subaru BRX – and flat fours are a Subaru trademark.

On the road, the GT86 is a breath of fresh air. The suspension is very firm and you feel all the bumps in the road but it’s definitely a thrill-a-minute ride when you push the car on twisting roads.

There’s instant response to the slightest pressure from your right foot and the 53/47 front-to-rear weight distribution ensures plenty of agility.

With an engine that revs comfortably to well over 7,000 revs, the GT86 also sounds as good as it performs.

Fast Facts

Toyota GT86

Basic price: £24,995

Mechanical: 1998cc, 4 cyl, 197 bhp petrol engine driving rear wheels via 6spd manual gearbox.

Max speed: 140 mph

0-62 mph: 7.7 secs

Combined mpg: 36.2

CO2 emissions: 181 g/km

Insurance: 29E

Warranty: 5 years 100,000 miles