If you must know, the GT86 is a pretty superb 2 + 2 coupe. Discounting whatever others may say
If you look at the GT86, it resembles many more expensive coupes like the Aston Martin DB9 (from the side) with a hint of Lexus LFA from the front. With the Day Running Lights (DRL), headlamps and aggressive front grille, the GT86 looks amazing even in stock condition. For that matter, the huge arch from the front fenders make driving the GT86 seem like a Maserati GranTurismo from the driver's point of view. Always a delight!
5. RACE CAR INSTRUMENTATION
Let's face it, that tachometer is gorgeous and there is no denying that it is quite similar to that of the Nismo GT-R. The digital speedometer is wonderfully informative and the built-in shift lamp and beeper that's customisable to whatever rev limit you please is integrated neatly into the tachometer centre, visible only upon activation. Upon engine ignition, the tachometer displays an opening "tach sweep" to the set limit and back to zero before the start of the engine. Kind of reminds me of the way the Defi gauges did it back during the Subaru STI era of the early 2000s.
6. TUNING OPTIONS
Okay, the GT86, its BRZ and FR-S cousins are no strangers to the tuning scene. If aftermarket is your playground then these cute little toys will certainly not disappoint. With numerous parts from many renown aftermarket manufacturers, almost anything can be found for the GT86 off the shelves or off the web. Almost no customisation will be needed because there is a part for everyone out there.
7. THE DRIVE
As you already know, the FA20 flat four here isn't packed with that many ponies to brag about. However, the handling and drive experience of the GT86 only reinforces that Hachi-Rokus are not about power but about balance. Oversteering the GT86 isn't that difficult but the on board Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) electronics keep you planted to the ground for a safe drive. Disable the VSC and Traction Control (TRC) completely and you are a tail happy boy racer thanks to the wonderful Torsen Limited Slip Differential (LSD) that's equipped as a standard. It's also worth noting the the Center of Gravity (CG) of the GT86 is lower than that of a Ferrari 458!
The FA20 is the first boxer from Subaru to feature Toyota's D-4S direct injection superior technology for intake and port injection. The result was a high revving and responsive 2.0L boxer engine that's a pleasure to drive. Incorporating a sound generator, the intake acoustics are piped into the driver's footwell for a sporty engine sound, a technology found in the LFA and Lexus F-Sport models. Mated to Toyota's 6-speed automatic transmission found in the Lexus IS250, included were Lexus RC-F inspired pedal shifts with an updated software that shifts in 0.2 seconds! Not exactly DSG material but quick enough for the street with high reliability and low maintenance.
Let's put it this way, I gave up my Lexus GS300 for this 'purist' platform but there was no way that I am going back to the old school Venom alarm bullshit that requires me to arm and disarm the GT86 by depressing buttons every time I'm at the parking lot.
Seriously, I've past my mid thirties and I wanted a keyless entry immobilizer ready security system and an ignition Start/Stop button rather than have to turn the key. Power windows and trunk release are a standard and a must have.
Dual zone automatic air-conditioning with digital displays are a need in my list rather than a want. With the prices of cars in Singapore, there is no chance in hell that I'm going to be turning silly plastic knobs under the heat of a typical tropical day. This is the modern age and any "blast from the past" memories of the AE86 dashboard equipment will certainly not be appreciated.
Automatic HID headlamps and DRLs are also made available in the high grade models together with cruise control.
As pampered as I sound, these are pretty much the fundamental requirements of the daily commuter today. Thank God for the GT86 GS High Grade Model!
10. CEASED PRODUCTION OF THE GT86
Spoke to the local dealership and as of sometime this year, the Subaru plant had stopped producing BRZs and GT86s. Hence, I couldn't even get my hands on a brand new one even if I wanted to. Rumour has it that the 2nd Generation Hachi-Roku is on its way. Some say that the latter would surface with an STI motor, perhaps the turbocharged FA20 found in the current Subaru Legacy. Another speculation of a smaller Miata motor being the successor which I find rather ridiculous. Whatever the case, I needed to get my hands on a GT86, not even a BRZ but a genuine Hachi-Roku (ハチロク) to be exact.
IN A NUTSHELL
While the GT86 isn't a perfectly refined sports car, it is certainly a great one. An affordable tuning platform filled with excitement and plenty more to come with the addition of aftermarket goodness. With my three ladies having my back on this, there was no stopping me from owning a historical masterpiece. To me, the Hachi-Roku (ハチロク) is the Mona Lisa of the JDM world.
Glad I got one...