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chrislane

Test Drove A Gt86 Today

19 posts in this topic

Apologies in advance for the length of this post - i got to the end and realised i had got a bit carried away!

 

First a bit of context:

My Elise had a last minute reprieve just over 12 months ago when our second child was born. However i've been thinking about selling it more and more over the last couple of months. I've not driven it much more than about a dozen times during 2013, and half of those have been over to Burton to remedy its head gasket problems or a quick blast around the block to make sure the wheels still turn! The main problem being that i have been incredibly busy at work this year, and then i want to spend whatever free time i have with the kids, and giving my wife a bit of a breather. And to be honest i'm not sure that 2014 will be a lot better. I still love the way it drives, and the club runs and trackdays i've done have been great, but even when i just take it for a blast for a couple of hours i feel a little bit guilty that i'm not at home with the kids! I also have a problem that my wife really isn't keen on me taking the kids out in it as she doesn't think it is safe if we were to be involved in an accident (she is more concerned about being hit by someone else rather than lack of driver skill on my part - or so she says!). But, having had the Elise i don't think i could go back to having a "normal" car.

 

So i am now trying to think of something which fits the following requirements:

  • sporty - handling as close to the Elise as possible as opposed to fast in a straight line
  • at least a 2+2 so i can get the whole family in - this way we will use it more when we go out on day trips. Rear seats can be minimal as children are currently 3.5 and 1.5 and doesn't need masses of storage as we have a 3 series estate for that
  • "safe" - my wife is a bit of a worrier and generally speaking anything that meets the "sporty" description will by default be seen as "unsafe" so this one represents a bit of challenge! I'm currently working on the basis that anything produced in the last 5 years will "be up to modern standards etc" so looking for something relatively new

Really keen for anyones thoughts but based on the above all i have really come up with is a GT86 or an Evora. Obviously there is a bit of a gap between these two in terms of prices new, but the early Evoras are sneaking under £30k and most used GT86s are low 20s so i can just about class them into the same bracket (using a bit of man maths obviously).

 

So, eventually, to the main purpose i started this post, today i testdrove the GT86. I have read up quite a bit about this car and it gets some very good reviews, but i must say i was more impressed than i thought i would be. It is an awful lot of fun to drive - not as much of an event as the Elise for sure, but fun none the less. It was a bit greasy on the roads today and the rear end was very "mobile" but always in a very controllable kind of way (and i am far from someone who spends a lot of time going sideways in the Lotus). The power delivery would take a bit of getting used to with all of the "go" seeming to come between about 5k and 7k revs, by which time my k-series has pretty much run out of puff. I found that initially i was changing up too early as a result, but once i cottoned on to holding each gear a bit longer it really started to move. My only slight concern is that whilst it was more than happy tootling about at lower revs, it did feel like it might get a bit bogged down if you suddenly put your foot down at 3k revs to overtake something. In reality i suspect it has pretty similar performance to my Elise, but given they are both NA they seem to deliver it in very different ways.

 

I was also impressed with the general styling of the car both inside and out. Inside it is a real step on from the MR2 roadster i owned (and thought was fantastic) before i got the Elise, although it is still some way behind the Germans in terms of quality of materials and design features. Oh, and i'm not sure whether i had the seat set really low, but i could not see any sign of where the front and back of the car was, but i'm sure you'd get used to that.

 

All in all, it has given me a really difficult decision to make - especially as they gave me a pretty good part ex quote on the Lotus.

 

Now just need to testdrive the Evora!

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I was in a same place as you. I was really impressed in the ride and handling both on the road and track of the evora, hence one is now on order!

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Chris I understand your problem. I also think your shortlist is spot on although I would add the subaru twin to the GT86 (I dunno if there are many differences but you may prefer one over the other).

 

If I had any spare cash I would make you an offer on the Elise. Don't let it go too cheap, as one of the nicest special editions it must be worth a few quid. Have you thought of ringing Will Blackham to ask him how much he would want to get you in to an Evora? or what he would give you for the T23?

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As dean has said don't forgot about the scooby BRZ fundamentally the same car, different engines though.<br /><br />Your Elise is in lovely condition.

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Must admit I quite like the Toyota. Lovely looking thing and always gets s good write up.. Might be worth a trip to Beechdale Subaru in derby for a test drive, see if there are any differences between the 2???

 

That said, if I could wangle the man maths an Evora be my preferred choice...

 

I think you need something you can use everyday and will do everyday things... Something just sat in the garage for most of the year is a waste....

 

Good luck....

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I have heard from various different discussions that the Subaru's suspension is more focused compared to the Toyota?, but the Toyota is slightly better inside?

 

I haven't looked myself so i can't be certain though.

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As dean has said don't forgot about the scooby BRZ fundamentally the same car, different engines though.<br /><br />Your Elise is in lovely condition.

 

They are the same engine alex, although i did read somewhere that the subaru has had an ecu update to release an extra 2bhp!!!!!!!! Ill have a drive though as i do believe they are set up slightly differently, nothing a geo couldn't sort though i understand, and i have also read that the toyota has a better interior.

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They are the same engine alex, although i did read somewhere that the subaru has had an ecu update to release an extra 2bhp!!!!!!!! Ill have a drive though as i do believe they are set up slightly differently, nothing a geo couldn't sort though i understand, and i have also read that the toyota has a better interior.

<br /><br /><br />My mistake Chris. <br /><br />I remember reading something about a possible wrx edition of the BRZ.<br /><br />Does either cars come with a forced induction engine?
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http://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/porsche/911-carrera-997/porsche-997-carrera-2s-coupe-just-29000-miles/1890285?isexperiment=true

 

A tad older than you wanted but it will be a far better car for your £s :) Your dad will also approve

That does look nice russ. I was wondering about extending the list to a gen 1 997. I'm a big fan of porsches but the wife cant stand them so might be an uphill battle!

 

Nope, no forced induction alex - although there are aftermarket options (lichfield do a sc that i have read good things about). That would drive a pretty big hole through the 5 year warranty though i would imagine!

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We test drove one a while ago too. Depending on the age of your kids the following may be something to think about - although there is plenty of room in the back for kids, the rear seat squab is quite long. That meant my daughter (5 years old at the time) couldn't bend her knees properly to fit her feet into the footwell. Essentially her legs were just outstretched straight meaning we couldn't put the front seats back into place. Liked everything else about the car, but that aspect just ruled it unsuitable for us. I guess it depends on the age of your children and how long you were planning to keep the car as to if this might be a consideration...

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I have to say that the Evora would be my choice (if I was in your position). Having driven both the N/A and supercharged Evoras for quite some distance, they both impress with effortless performance, wonderfully supple suspension, and reasonable accommodation (just enough room for young family members in the back).

 

The GT86, on the other hand, is a cheap (in engineering terms), nasty "sports" car with insufficient power and grip. And, whilst it might impress on a short test run (the famous mobile back end), I have a sneaky feeling that you'd get sick to death of the flaccid engine, unrelenting side-ways action, tinny build quality, and pig ugly looks in no time at all.

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Dont hold back eric will you! I do suspect you might be right re the engine - it did feel a bit weak low down. But i keep going back tot the fact that power to weight is pretty much identical to my elise.

 

From what i have read the relative lack of grip is as much down to the standard tyres as anything else. Swapping for something a little more grippy makes the car feel a lot more focussed. Only going off internet opinions though, and we all know that these should be taken with a pinch of salt at times!

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Issue 145 of the Top Gear magazine did a whole article on trying 4 different tyre choice's on the BRZ (including a set of A048).

 

The bottom line was that changing the tyres did give the car more grip and focus... however, it was no longer the "fun" car as orginally reviewed.

 

The whole premise of this car seems to be... Take an reasonable low end "sports" car and stick slippy tyre on it so it moves around when pushed. What shocked me is that many magazines gave it great reviews just on the back of this feature (inc Top Gear). Really if this is all you want then there are a lot of better cars out there that you could stick some shite tyres on and have the same effect!

 

While these cars may have the same power to weight as the elise, it has nowhere near as spritely or grippy.

 

If you go back to your orginal "must have" list you said is must be sporty in the handling dept. These cars just are not like this. With the standard tyres your arse will be all over the place... with better tyres it won't be sporty.

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Dont hold back eric will you! I do suspect you might be right re the engine - it did feel a bit weak low down. But i keep going back tot the fact that power to weight is pretty much identical to my elise.

 

From what i have read the relative lack of grip is as much down to the standard tyres as anything else. Swapping for something a little more grippy makes the car feel a lot more focussed. Only going off internet opinions though, and we all know that these should be taken with a pinch of salt at times!

 

There have also been a few good back-to-back track tests pitching a GT86 (and/or BRZ) against various machinery, but perhaps the most worrying of all (for Tobaru) was being beaten by a humble Ford Fiesta ST here:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKJ0eNHu5vk

 

Sadly, a missed opportunity for Toyota and Subaru.

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