► New top-end GT86 special edition
► Giallio = yellow in Italian
► Purely cosmetic, no extra power
The Toyota GT86 hasn’t quite garnered the sales its brilliance deserves in the UK so Toyota’s put bellows to the fire by dropping the starting price below £23k. At the same time, it’s temporarily topped the range with this, the limited-run, £27,495 Giallo Edition.
What’s the GT86 Giallo Edition all about?
As you’ve probably guessed from the pictures, Giallio is Italian for yellow (even without a phrasebook, petrolhead word association instantly links it to Ferraris and Ducatis painted in ‘Giallo Fly’). Only 86 Giallo Editions are being made available for the UK, each painted in the same lively shade of metallic yellow.
With double black stripes along the sills, the colour scheme’s vaguely reminiscent of the Bruce Lee-tribute tracksuit Uma Thurman dons in Kill Bill before generally wreaking havoc. Bodes well for the driving experience.
All Giallo Editions get a manual gearbox, plush quilted leather seats (heated even, although they take an age to warm up) and the no-cost option of even more stickers on the roof and bonnet.
Any mechanical upgrades?
No. But the GT86 really doesn’t need any. (Apart from the well-established craving for just a little bit more power, perhaps.) Within the first few metres of setting off, everything that’s great about it is thrown straight back into focus, especially if you’ve climbed in from a typically numb high-riding, over-tyred modern hatchback.
The control weights are spot on, the driving position superb (if perhaps a just a touch higher than ideal, especially on the Giallo’s heavily cushioned seat), and though the power steering’s electric, it’s perfectly judged and full of feel. The short-throw but notchy gearchange that’s oh-so-Subaru is baulky when cold but great once it’s warmed up.
In the dry the engine’s lack of low-down torque can make the GT86 feel ever so slightly anaemic, but with the roads coated in winter slime it feels more than punchy enough. It’s just so lively; turn-in is eager, to say the least, and at all speeds the car feels up on its toes and ready to play. The ride’s just the right side of firm – stiff enough to cut body roll, pliant enough to keep your fillings in place.
Downsides? It’s a bit noisy on the motorway (it’s a sports car), and the interior’s a bit tacky (it’s a Toyota). The harsh, gurgling engine note can become hard work to listen to on a long journey, but it’s characterful at least.
The Giallo Edition’s a fair bit more costly than the base GT86 Primo model but that’s partially offset by a bit of rarity value and pretty much all the equipment you’d ever need or want, with the possible exception of sat-nav, a £750 option.
Above all, it’s a reminder of just how engaging the GT86 can be on the right roads and in the right setting. Shame the Avensis outsells it.