Toyota’s much heralded return to its sporting heritage has been marked with the launch of the compact 2+2 sports car, the GT86.
The car has been described as an entirely driver-orientated vehicle, and is designed for those who consider driving a passion rather than necessity. The GT86, which is described as the world’s most compact four-seater sports car, will be available in Ireland from June at €39,895 for the manual and automatic versions.
Measuring 4,240 mm long, 1,775 mm wide, only 1,285 mm high and with a wheelbase of 2,570 mm, the new GT86 is the world’s most compact four-seater sports car. The car has a drag coefficient of just Cd 0.27.
Toyota has a 50 year history of creating exciting, rear-wheel drive sports cars that have proved as popular with the public as they have been successful in competition.
The new GT86 captures and builds upon the best elements of three key models from that rich sporting heritage - the Toyota Sports 800, the 2000GT and the AE86.
The GT86’s aesthetic design was aimed at sport car fanatics - its bold front wings are readily visible through the windscreen, and the rear wings through the door mirrors. These prominent forms at all four corners of the low-lying, highly aerodynamic body add a new dimension to the feeling of being at one with the car.
‘View from inside’
The GT86 was designed with a ‘viewed from the inside out’ approach which proved integral to the design process from the early stages of its creation.
The GT86 model has a rear-wheel drive format, no turbocharging and ordinary tyres, making it an affordable and accessible car for driving enthusiasts.
The model is the world’s only combination of compact front-mounted, naturally aspirated, free-revving, horizontally opposed ‘boxer’ petrol engine and rear-wheel drive, which gives maximum driving pleasure for those who get behind the wheel.
During development the Chief Engineer established a unique combination of performance characteristics for the vehicle’s powertrain. Those characteristics embodied a low centre of gravity, naturally aspirated, high-revving sports engine capable of developing 100bhp per litre.
The solution to these potentially disparate requirements lay in combining Subaru’s newly-developed boxer engine with Toyota’s latest direct fuel injection system to create the world’s first horizontally opposed engine with D-4S (direct injection 4-stroke gasoline engine) technology.
However, the Chief Engineer’s reluctance to incorporate turbocharging still presented a considerable engineering challenge, there being no naturally aspirated, direct fuel injection engine revving to 7,400 rpm in existence before the development of the GT8.
To Subaru’s newly developed, horizontally opposed, 1,998 cc, four-cylinder boxer engine, Toyota added its unique, next-generation D-4S technology for the first time.
Separate twin injectors
With separate twin injectors for direct and port injection, D-4S performs both high-pressure direct injection into the cylinder and conventional intake port injection, or direct cylinder injection only, in accordance with engine speed. Hence, intake air and fuel are mixed evenly at all engine speed ranges, increasing throttle response, power and torque over a wide range of engine speeds without sacrificing fuel efficiency and environmental performance.
With a namesake 86 mm x 86 mm bore and stroke -a ‘square’ engine combining fuel economy with well balanced rotation, the GT86’s engine block and 16 valve, DOHC cylinder heads have been newly developed to achieve both high engine speed and a high compression ratio of 12.5:1.
The GT86’s boxer unit employs a front-mounted air intake layout to lower the engine position, with a low intake manifold to further lower the centre of gravity. In the interests of lowering the engine position as far as possible, it was also decided to completely revise the exhaust system and the oil pan design.
The vertical measurements of the exhaust system have been minimised to lower the engine position, and the middle pipe layout optimised to allow for the lowest possible vehicle height.
Toyota engineers designed the oil pan to be as compact as a dry sump. The final design made it possible to lower the engine centre of gravity simply by making the oil pan thinner. A unique internal fin shape was also developed for the pan, allowing them to scoop up oil to promote thorough lubrication.
The new flat four revs freely to 7,400 rpm, at which point a gear shift prompt light flashes in the driver’s instrument binnacle. Over-revving the engine introduces a well-judged, soft rev limiter rather than a sudden engine cut out.
Equalising the intake and exhaust timings has given the engine an extremely pleasant, smooth-revving sound. The engineers were concerned that various countries’ strict noise regulations would make it difficult to increase the exhaust note volume as much as might be desirable for the driver to hear in a sports car.
In response, the engineers decided to bring the sound directly into the car; the first time a system of this type has been used in a Toyota vehicle. When intake pulses hit the sound creator, a damper resonates at certain frequencies to optimise the intake sound.
The optimised sound is then channelled directly into the cabin via a rubber hose. A stress-free, soft intake sound is produced under slow acceleration, while a true sports car intake sound is generated under full throttle acceleration.
Being the part of the car - along with the steering - most directly linked to the driver, a meticulous focus on the transmission has been fundamental to the successful development of the GT86. The flat-four engine may be mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox.
It was agreed at the outset that, in a car created for manual transmission purists, the gearbox should feature a short shift, ‘flick of the wrist’ lever travel. The final transmission required the creation of five separate prototypes and the use of some 85% of newly designed components.
It offers quick, precise shifting through closely stacked ratios via the highly engaging action of a tactile, short-throw lever.
A new, Toyota designed, 6-speed automatic transmission combines direct response and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles with the world’s fastest torque-converter AT shifting speed of only 0.2 seconds.
High response gear change
It incorporates high response gear change control, supporting sporting driving in M (manual) range and Sport modes by prioritising responsiveness during upshifts for extremely fast gear changes. Adding sensory appeal to sporting driving, blipping downshift control automatically revs the engine on downshifts, matching engine speed to the mesh speed of the next gear for extremely smooth and rapid downshifts.
Even when driving in D (drive) range, the transmission allows for the temporary manual override of the gearbox via paddle shift control. The Sport mode offers faster shift response times and activates lock-up control from low speeds providing a more direct gear shift feeling.
Snow mode automatically adjusts throttle response to control torque delivery characteristics on snow and other slippery surfaces, maximising vehicle grip and traction.
Power is distributed to the rear wheels via a Torsen limited slip differential with a final drive ratio of 4.1, optimising traction and grip under all driving conditions.
The new GT86 is equipped with a fully automatic air-conditioning system with independent left and right temperature control. Maintaining the GT86 ethos of weight saving throughout the vehicle, the unit is of a notably compact and lightweight design.
The new Toyota Touch audio system is available, equipped with AM/FM/CD 6 speakers, AUX and USB input connectivity. The six speakers comprise two 25 mm dashboard-mounted tweeters, two 160 mm front door speakers and two 65 mm rear quarter speakers.
All versions of the GT86 are fitted with two 12v accessory sockets, twin cup and bottle holders and green UV-cut glass to the side and rear windows. In addition, the new Toyota sports car is equipped with cruise control and a Smart Entry and Start System.
The GT86 has been designed to offer customers maximum potential for individual customisation, with an extensive range of exterior and interior accessories allowing owners to enjoy tuning and customising to suit their needs.
Assuming that some owners will participate in motor sport, the interior has been designed for the easy installation of a roll cage.
David Shannon, Managing Director, Toyota Ireland said the GT86 was designed to be very much a ‘driver’s car’ and they were confident that even the most demanding car enthusiast will be impressed by the driving experience it offers.
“Toyota has an undeniably strong heritage in the creation of world class sports cars and the GT86 truly represents an exciting new chapter in this legacy,” he added.