After four years of running the Fiat 500 it felt like time for a change. I spotted a Toyota GT86 my local main dealer. It was immaculate, with under 5,000 miles on the clock. I had to have it.
Ed Wiseman was spot on in the Telegraph when he said: “Buyers in search of a pure, wholesome driving experience should consider this in the same way they might consider a Caterham or an Elise, but everyone else could spend a little less on an MX-5, or a little more on a hot hatch.”
In other words, this car is a terrible choice for most people: it’s noisy, harsh, incredibly low and has puny mid-range torque (less than half that of our 1.5-litre eco box). But it’s the perfect car for someone who wants a stripped-back, track-ready sports car and who also needs four seats and enough luggage space for a camping trip. I absolutely love it.
In April 2019 I did a track day at Knockhill. The car did really well, keeping up with the field, passing a few track-prepared cars, and setting a very respectable 1:06 lap time in damp conditions. Here’s a wee video from the session.
I also had a go at competitive Autosolo racing, which is basically a faster, more open format of Autotesting. Autosolo runs forwards-only and, in the case of the event I took part in, includes two laps in each run. I was up against some seasoned Autosolo-ists, so I was really pleased to end up with the second fastest time of the day.
After three years of ownership, I still absolutely love this car. I can’t think of another car in the world that matches it for both performance and practicality. In fact, it’s the first car I’ve ever owned where I haven’t also needed an MX-5 in the driveway for weekend fun. There are very few people I’d recommend this car to, but for me, it’s perfect.