What is it?
The Toyota GT86 is the firm's near-perfect recipe for an affordable, uncomplicated sports two-seater, a car in the Mazda MX-5 mould except for the roof. But in corporate terms, it’s much more important than a mere fun car. The GT86 is the flagship for a complete change in the way Toyota does things, a strong signal from its recently installed president, Akio Toyoda, that his company wants to build enjoyable, involving cars, rather than the reliable, dour machines for which it has lately become famous. It wants relive days when the MR2, Celica and Supra lifted the image of the whole range.
However, Toyota’s new rear-wheel-drive coupe could never have been built without the involvement of Subaru, who provide some of the know-how, the factory and the 2.0 litre flat-four that allows the GT86 its low nose (and therefore its compact dimensions and low centre of gravity). Subaru is launching its own near-identical model, called BRZ, made on the same production lines to improve economies of scale and allow the car to be sold at the comparatively affordable entry price of £24,995, or £1500 more if you want to substitute a six-speed automatic for the six-speed manual. Toyota wants to sell 2000 cars this year after the car hits showrooms at the beginning of July, and plans to do 5000 a year thereafter.