Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ

CarsGuide ·

11 December 2012

The most significant sports cars since the original Mazda MX-5 in 1989 and by far the most affordable. "There too many grey cars in the world. The Twins are technicolour and 3D'' says Paul Gover.

Marketing puffery is often ludicrous -- especially when it’s Toyota promising passion. But for the 86 just about every box has been ticked and promise delivered – many more than we expected. The 86 is alive and kick-arse.

The most significant sports cars since the original Mazda MX-5 in 1989 and by far the most affordable. "There too many grey cars in the world. The Twins are technicolour and 3D'' says Paul Gover.

Steering feel is excellent, with good weighting and feedback. The car feels taut and agile, turning in nimbly and gripping the road aggressively. The six-speed manual is one of the best around: short, sweet and snickety. Even hardened stick-shunners could be won over by this one. It gets off the line smartly, and delivers decent in-gear acceleration, despite there not being any sense of huge torque on tap.

The in-car soundtrack improves once you push it up above 3500rpm, but apart from that the engine noise is subdued and it’s the tyres you hear. That aside, the Toyota 86 is nearly everything most people could want in terms of bang for the buck.

The BRZ is brilliant, addictive and deeply depressing. You need to drop six figures to find something comparable or better - Mazda's able but aging MX-5 is finally surpassed, but then so for sheer driving pleasure are cars with badges like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Embracing an old formula - light weight, small and willing atmo engine, manual trans and rear wheel drive - it feels fresh and invigorating against a field of ever more sophisticated and heinously expensive sports cars, devices  that are technical tours de force but which can be emotionally bereft.

No track day intro for the BRZ, so no lurid power sliding. But during a nocturnal fang on one of the nation's best bits of sinuous blacktop, the Soob more than fulfills its part of the two-brand partnership.

Swarm into a tight bend, the note of that chuntering four rises to a wail, the merest throttle input shifts to impetus from nose the tail.  Yet there are acres of space and ample signals between control and untidiness. The BRZ is highly sensitive and entirely intuitive.

Toyota 86 GT manual four-seater/Subaru BRZ

Price: from $29,990 (BRZ - $37,150)
Engine: two-litre variable-valve direct-injection DOHC flat-four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed manual, rear wheel drive
Power: 147kW @ 7000rpm
Torque: 205Nm @ 6600rpm
Fuel use/emissions: 7.8 l/100km, tank 50 litres 95-98 PULP; 181g/km
Brakes/safety systems: Driver and front passenger airbags, front seat side airbags, curtain airbags, driver’s knee airbag, stability control (Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control), rear parking sensors
Dimensions: Length 4240mm, width 1775mm, height 1285mm (BRZ -1245mm), wheelbase 2570mm, cargo volume 217 litres, weight 1222kg (BRZ 1216kg)
Wheels/tyres: 16in alloy wheels (BRZ 17in alloys)

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Written by

Karla Pincott

Editor for the online presence of Australia's largest and best known automoti...

Published 11 December 2012