A cursory, showroom-floor introduction to the Toyota GT86 will likely reveal that the car’s cabin, while offering a concerted step up from the BRZ’s positively skeletal innards, still lacks the plush, polished look that has come to define a European expectation of what sports cars should feel like inside, even though its recent facelift has aimed to rectify this issue.

The Toyota is hard-edged and flinty to the touch, and it looks it, too. But there is a wonderful schematic rigour to the interior that only really becomes apparent once the model is in motion.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The Toyota is hard-edged and flinty to the touch

Most manufacturers talk a fine game when it comes to focusing their cockpits on the driver, but the GT86 is as nakedly purposeful as the tail-gunner seat in a B-52.

Characterised by a sublime seating position — offering the lowest hip-point of any Toyota production vehicle — the car trades gun sights for a large tachometer, and then brilliantly orbits every other facet of the architecture around that eye line. 

The attention to a functional, instinctive level of detail — so often the subject of empty marketing rhetoric — is comprehensive and remarkably effective. The steering wheel is the smallest ever attached to a Toyota and a horizontal dashboard design has been used to help better communicate mid-bend roll posture.

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Soft knee pads have been built into the door trim and centre console to offer support under high lateral loads and there’s a centre line mark on the upper edge of the dashboard that can be seen reflected in the windscreen… The list goes on and on. 

Not every facet is a success. The pedals have been positioned straight on but are too splayed to allow every size of right foot to heel and toe, but the overall effect is so intoxicating that an enthusiastic driver will likely feel compelled to keep his or her jaw clenched in unconscious tribute to the ardent and impeccable nature of it all.

Nevertheless, the GT86 has an awful lot going for it. Further reinforcing its case is a decent list of kit across its two trims - GT86 and GT86 Pro. The entry-level trim equips the sports coupé with 17in alloy wheels, LED headlights, front foglights, folding door mirrors, cruise control and keyless entry on the outside as standard, while inside there is dual-zone climate control and Toyota's Touch 2 infotainment system complete with Bluetooth, DAB radio and USB connectivity.

Those who opt for the Pro will get a revised aerodynamic bodykit, a rear spoiler, a suede dashboard, a part-leather and part-Alcantara upholstery and heated front seats thrown into the package.

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