At last, the all-new Toyota sports car was unveiled today ahead of the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show: this is the 2012 Toyota GT 86. The new car might create two groups of people, the ones who hate it and the ones who love it. Although many of you would consider that the concept version of the car, the Toyota FT-86, looked sportier and more interesting design lines, we will be in the group of people who like the car.
Of course, we do admit that the car needed larger wheels or a new rear spoiler like the Subaru BRZ STI Concept, but overall the Toyota GT 86 is an interesting car.
The GT 86 measures 4,240mm long, 1,285mm high and 2,570mm wide, dimensions which make it the most compact four-seater sports car available today. Moreover, the powertrain and the driving position have been set as low and as far back as possible to achieve the best balance: the car has a near-perfect 53:47 front-to-rear weight distribution.
The Toyota GT 86 promises to feature the lowest center of gravity of any current Toyota production model, at just 475 mm. The suspension features MacPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the rear. The car rides on 17-inch wheels and is fitted with ventilated disc brakes fore and aft.
Under the hood we find an engine developed by Toyota and Subaru: Toyota added its D-4S injection technology to Subaru’s new, horizontally opposed, naturally aspirated 1,998cc four-cylinder boxer engine.
The engine delivers 197bhp at 7,000 rpm and maximum torque of 205 Nm at 6,600 rpm. The engine will be mated as standard to a six-speed manual transmission while a 6-speed automatic gearbox will be available as an option. As expected, the power of the engine is delivered to the road through the rear wheels. Power is distributed to the rear wheels via a limited slip differential to give the best possible grip in all driving conditions.
Thanks to a 53:47 front bias, the new Toyota GT 86 could provide the ideal response -- during spirited driving -- to subtle steering, throttle and brake inputs. This means that drivers are given an easier time to control dynamic weight distribution to achieve the best possible vehicle behavior. Likewise, thanks to fined-tuned suspension, brakes and steering, the new Toyota GT 86 is able to optimize the benefits of its minimal mass, ultra-low center of gravity and lack of inertia. This means that drivers could fully take advantage of the car’s dynamic agility, nimble handling and excellent cornering poise.
Toyota fine-tuned the car’s MacPherson strut suspension (front) and double wishbone suspension (rear) to respond immediately to driver input. With a setting of 23 N/mm, the front spring rates of the GT 86 are softer than those of its Subaru counterpart (25 N/mm), allowing for a slight body roll during initial turn-in. This results to a perfect relationship between steering feel and vehicle behavior conveyed by the car’s classic front-engine/rear-drive platform.
Providing the decelerating and stopping powers are large yet dynamic ventilated disc brakes that deliver a brake pedal feel different from other Toyota vehicles. In fact, the Japanese carmaker fine-tuned the brake response to pedal input to deliver precise modulation, thereby allowing for the smoothest dynamic weight transfer under braking.
In homage to the iconic Black Racing wheels of the Toyota AE86, the new Toyota GT 86 has a set of 17-inch alloy wheels with a distinct center hub design. While the traditional diameter of Toyota's center cap is 60 mm, that of the GT 86 measures 49 mm, which means it is lighter yet still as safe.
This also made the spokes seemingly longer and the wheels larger. Toyota has decided not to fit the Toyota GT 86 with high-performance tires, and instead it equipped the sports car with the same 17-inch tires fitted to the Prius. Since these tires feature neutral yet predictable attributes, they allow drivers to exploit the maximum potential of the car’s chassis and suspension. This means that when customers upgrade to high performance tires, they could expect the new GT 86 to do better with noticeable performance gains.