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2012 GT86 press kit: Back to the roots

Back to the Roots

Toyota's eagerly awaited, compact 2+2 sports car, the GT86, is an entirely driver-oriented vehicle. It gives form to the pure, intrinsic joy of driving through precise, instantaneous response to even the smallest throttle or steering inputs, for those who regard driving as a passion rather than a necessity.

Based on an entirely new platform, the GT86 has a low, highly aerodynamic bodyshell stretched tight over the engineering hard points, making it the world's most compact four-seat sports car design.

Throughout thousands of man-hours spent overcoming hundreds of development challenges, Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada and his Subaru counterpart, Toshio Masuda, fought tooth and nail for three key elements in the new sports car: a rear-wheel drive format, no turbocharging and ordinary tyres.

Shunning a heavy, large displacement powertrain for its performance, the GT86 returns to Toyota's sporting roots with the world's only combination of a compact, front-mounted, naturally aspirated, free-revving, horizontally opposed 'boxer' petrol engine and rear-wheel drive.

This unique powertrain format combines with light weight, low inertia and a low centre of gravity to realise the best possible power-to-weight ratio. These attributes give the GT86 lively, accessible performance, highly engaging, readily exploitable dynamic abilities with minimal electronic intrusion, and maximum driving pleasure.

Conceived to focus specifically on the purity of the classic sports car experience, designed by a passionate team of engineers, honed through competition and fine-tuned to satisfy the most discerning enthusiast, the GT86 inherits the spirit of former Toyota sports cars to reward drivers with pure driving involvement.

The GT86 engineering design incorporates elements that allow easy adjustment or customisation to suit user preferences. Making it as simple as possible by, for instance, minimising electronic control devices, allows customers to personalise the GT86 with relative ease.

Even higher performance tyres have been rejected in favour of the one overriding development goal of the GT86: fun.


The Number 86

Though paying homage to both the exhilarating drivability of the Corolla Levin AE86 and its unique relationship with owners, enthusiasts and tuning shops, the number 86 has played a further, significant role throughout the development of Toyota's new sports car.

Auspiciously, the vehicle's in-house development code was 086A. The boxer engine's square bore and stroke set-up of 86 mm x 86 mm proves ideal, remaining faithful to Toyota's long, 2.0 litre sports engine history. The legendary 3M engine of the 2000GT and the 1G-G engine of the Supra were both in-line six-cylinder configurations with a square bore and stroke of 75 mm. And the in-line, four-cylinder unit in the Celica and MR2 shares the GT86's square bore and stroke of 86 mm.

Even the inner diameter of the GT86's chrome-tipped exhaust measures exactly 86 mm…


A 50 Year Heritage of Front-Engined, Rear-Wheel Drive Sports Cars

Toyota has a 50 year history of creating exciting, driver-focused, front-engined rear-wheel drive sports cars that have proved as popular with the public as they have been successful in competition.

The new GT86 captures the best elements of three key models from that rich sporting heritage: the Toyota Sports 800, the Toyota 2000GT and the AE86.

Though the GT86 launches as the world's only front-mounted horizontally opposed engine and rear-wheel drive package, it cannot claim to be the first. That honour goes to Toyota's two-cylinder boxer engined Sports 800, which the company presented at the Tokyo Motorshow in 1962.

With its compact body and excellent fuel efficiency, the Sports 800 achieved great success in endurance races. The low centre of gravity of the boxer engine and front-engine, rear-drive powertrain format was considered ideal for a car providing maximum driving entertainment. For this reason, the GT86 has adopted this classic layout for the first time since the Toyota Sports 800.

The beautiful 2000GT -of which only 337 units were built- a 2.0 litre straight-six-powered coupe first displayed at the 1965 Tokyo Motorshow, helped establish the company's global reputation as a sports car manufacturer.

Even now, its styling appears sophisticated, cool and fresh. During the development of the GT86, a 2000GT was placed next to the clay model of new sports car being developed by the designers. Without receiving any specific instructions, the designers continued their work, occasionally looking at the 2000GT. As a result, their work infused the GT86 with the spirit of the 2000GT without imitating it.

From the AE86, the GT86 inherits not its hardware, but its spirit. The AE86 was not an extreme sports car. It was moderately priced, with a mass-produced engine and a compact, front engine, rear-wheel drive body.


Collaboration with Subaru

Following Toyota's alliance with Subaru in 2005, the two companies began discussing the joint creation of a symbol of this alliance. The idea of a true, entry-level sports car was discussed.

Ultimately, it was decided that, as Toyota was going to be involved in a joint development project with Subaru, nothing could be more natural than to create a front engine, rear-wheel drive layout with a horizontally opposed engine. It was universally agreed that this engineering format would give the new car tremendous impact.

The feasibility study of the GT86 project began in 2006, with Toyota playing the leading role in both the Product Planning and Design phases. Collaborating as 'Team 86', Toyota and Subaru shared responsibility for the Development programme.

Subaru played the leading role in Engineering Design, with Toyota technologies and know-how employed in vehicle fundamentals such as the engine, transmission and suspension. At the Evaluation stage, both Toyota and Subaru worked together on roads and race tracks around the world to refine the vehicle's performance and dynamic abilities.

Each company was independently responsible for the ultimate driving feel of their own derivative. A painstaking fine-tuning process by Toyota test drivers has created the uniquely agile response, precise control, confidence-inspiring stability and sheer driving entertainment for which the new Toyota sports car is already renowned.