The GT86 officially goes off-sale ahead of its replacement later this year
By Sam Sheehan / Wednesday, February 3, 2021 / Loading comments
If you’re hoping to be one of the last to grab a first-generation GT86 before they go off sale, too late. Toyota UK has confirmed that the last brand new car has officially been sold, meaning that nine years after it arrived in Britain and a decade since it was revealed at the Tokyo motor show, the original GT86 is finally done. Of course, its successor is soon to arrive, featuring (almost certainly) the same 228hp 2.4-litre boxer and standard-fit six-speed manual as its cousin, the (not coming to the UK) Subaru BRZ.
It has large shoes to fill. The prospect of an affordable naturally aspirated, rear-wheel drive sports car with ‘normal’ tyres looked all but extinct back in 2010. Sure, the Mk3 Mazda MX-5 was still a strong contender, but it was a roadster and as such had a different sort of appeal. The GT86 and Subaru BRZ looked more serious, and were honed on a rigid sports car philosophy of low weight and centre of gravity.
The cars weren’t everyone’s cup of tea, of course, because they needed to be thrashed to 7,000rpm, and even then were arguably a little off-the-pace, especially compared with a steady supply of turbocharged hot hatches. But to a happy niche, a low-mounted boxer engine and impeccable balance meant it was wonderfully adjustable at halfway sane speeds (thanks in part to its Michelin Primacy rubber, famously shared with the Prius), and that made it an instant PH hero.
The magic wasn’t accidental, either, because Toyota and Subaru – who had jointly begun discussing the prospects of an ‘86’ sports car in 2005 – ran the whole project with the same brief. Toyota president Akio Toyoda apparently said, “if it’s not fun to drive, it’s not a car”. Which we presume was only applicable to the 86 model, given the mundane stuff elsewhere in Toyota’s line-up at the time (now thankfully rectified with the GR Yaris and Supra). The resulting car was authentic everywhere; even the name represents the 86 x 86 bore and stroke of the engine.
Admittedly, the Subaru-built motor, as effective as it was, it often called out as the car’s chief weak point – but in truth it depends on the user. Some reckon it’s decent as is, some say minor breathing mods can transform it and others reckon an aftermarket turbocharger is the only answer. Happily, the six-speed manual is great either way – and the auto’s more than acceptable, if that’s your preference.
The majority of the 7,500 cars sold in Britain were equipped with the former, and Toyota is expected to retain a standard-fit three-pedal setup in the 2021 Mk2 as a result. Production officially ended back in August, and Subaru launched the new BRZ at the end of last year, so the latest model is certainly due in 2021.
As far as sports cars go, GT86s are common enough to remain cheap (there are 26 on PH alone), as evidenced by the £11k car listed here, with only 53k on the clock. Of course, you could opt for an essentially brand new, barely more than delivery miles example, like the car here, with just 250 miles collected – but you’re back into new car territory, at £26k. Thanks to Toyota's renowned build quality, there’s little risk in going for something a little older, as our buying guide makes clear. With the new models all gone, you may want to bookmark that page.
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