In a recent Drive video, Chris Harris of Piston Heads, takes a Toyota GT-86, a Nissan 370Z, and a used Porsche Cayman around English back roads in order find out if the GT-86 is really the best sports car for around $25,000. To American buyers, the GT-86 is known either as the Scion FR-S or as the Subaru BRZ. Whatever the badging, the GT-86 is powered by a 200hp four-cylinder boxer engine developed by Subaru. The car is rear wheel drive, and most importantly is lightweight.
Harris, like many other automotive journalists, is enamored with the Toyota’s accurate steering and lively rear end that feels ready to slide out at any moment. Despite poor performance specs, and rather boring exterior styling, the GT-86, according to Harris, is certainly a better buy than the Nissan 370Z, and can contend with a used Cayman.
The GT-86 is an important car. It marks a successful collaboration between two Japanese automakers (Toyota and Subaru), and the car’s success seems to have inspired Toyota to collaborate with BMW to create another sports car. The GT-86’s success will likely mean buyers will see more lightweight cars with manual transmissions on the market soon. But most importantly, the GT-86 shows that simple, inexpensive, fun cars can still be financially successfully in the US, and that bodes well for car enthusiasts.