The engine for one, it only produces 200hp, which is enough to break the traction of its skinny little Prius eco tyres but sometimes not quite enough to keep up with irritating little Peugeots and Kia’s in traffic. Then there’s the interior, which is filled with more cheap plastic than an American newsreader.
For £25,000 there are plenty of more powerful, more luxurious and equally sporting alternatives available if you’re willing to look at the used market.
Here’s our top ten.
10. Subaru BRZ £24,995
Probably the most obvious alternative to the GT86 is its brother the Subaru BRZ. The two cars are almost identical, but the Subaru comes in this awesome blue paint. Its suspension tune is also slightly different from that of the GT86 so it has slightly more grip. It’s still a hoot to drive though! See what I did there? Carhoots, hoot. Ha!
9. 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX STI £17,990
If someone – probably a spikey haired wannabe racer – came to me and said they wanted to go as fast as possible for as little money as possible, I’d tell them to buy one of these, a Subaru WRX STI. We all love the fast Scooby, it’s just such an honest car, it isn’t trying to be anything it’s not. The interior is shite, the ride is rough, the turbo lag is generally measured in weeks and months, but once this thing gets on boost it becomes a rocket. It has unflappable all weather grip, too. It’s genuinely brilliant at going fast, that’s all.
8. 2011 BMW Z4 SDrive30i £24,950
I was truly baffled when I stumbled upon this car for under £25k, it’s a total bargain. There’s a lot to like about the Z4, it’s very pretty, the 3.0liter version packs 254hp, so it’s quick. The interior feels quite special and bespoke, plus, with the use of electricity and wizardry, the roof comes off! It’s not a ten-tenths car however; it’s more of a boulevard cruiser than a full on sports car.
7. 2010 Nissan 370Z £17,995
The formula for the 370Z is identical to that of the GT86, take a group of Japanese driftists, give them some spanners, a small coupe body style, some rear wheel drive and clever suspension bits, and an engine, then leave them alone for a couple of years. The 370Z is a solid sports car, the driving position is right over the rear wheels so you feel every twitch and movement through your buttocks, and it’s quite fast too, 0-60mph takes around 5 seconds.
6. 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG £25,995
Ok, so this one’s a tad over our £25,000 limit, but think about it. Would you prefer to spec your GT86 with satnav or gain entry to the 6.2 liter AMG V8 concert? What you’re getting here is a loud, hairy chested V8 rumble, lots of hilarious wheel spin – even with traction control on – and complete madness. It’s not a great drivers car but you still want this one.
5. 2006 Audi RS4 £21,750
This Audi RS4 could be one of the greatest cars Audi has ever built. It’s up there with the R8 and the Quattro. There’s a subtle, refined rage to this car. It goes about its business with little fuss. There’s just a nice, relatively mild burble from its beautiful twin oval shaped exhausts and 415hp of V8 power deployed through all four wheels to give it massive traction. It simply explodes out of corners. Problem is however; you’ll be labeled a cock if you buy one.
4. Renault Megane Renault Sport 250
Ok, so it mightn’t be the most obvious alternative to the GT86, mainly because it’s front wheel drive, a hatchback and turbocharged. However, this is the best hot hatch you can currently buy, it’ll provide all the thrills you desire from a sports car and it’ll make every trip a memorable one, even if it’s just a quick pop to the shops for some roses on a forgotten Valentines day.
3. 2008 BMW M3 £20,950
The BMW M3 is just like the Toyota GT86, except you get more in every possible way. You get more power, more than twice as much actually at 420hp, you get more luxury, and more badge. The M3 is such joy to drive, it really is faultless, it’s probably all the car you’ll ever need.
2. 2007 Porsche Cayman S £19,995
The poor little Cayman has been called the poor mans 911 all its life, predominantly by people who have never driven one. This is a fantastic car with a character all of its own, the mid mounted 295hp flat six provides plenty of power and the screaming noise it makes through the last 2000rpm of the rev range is fantastic. The chassis is well balanced with huge amounts of mechanical grip, combine that with sensational steering feel and feedback and you have a truly rewarding car to drive.
1. 2005 Porsche 911 Carrera S £24,850
We’re looking at alternatives to a pure, rear drive sports cars, how could the Porsche 911 not make an appearance? We all know and love the 911, it actually turned 50 years old this week and the 997 series – like this one – is arguably the best of the breed, blending performance, handling, and comfort better than any other 911 – 991 included. The engine has always been at the wrong end of the car, but that fact has just added to the whole experience and it’s what makes the 911 so unique. If you’re an enthusiast, this needs to be at the top of your wish list.
If you think we’ve missed a car, or you’d like to make suggestions feel free to tweet us at @CarhootsUK using the hash tag #GT86orthis
By Aiden Taylor
Aiden is an enthusiastic car crazy university student studying the art of wordsmithery AKA journalism. He thinks he has a Stig like ability to tame his beastly Mazda mx-5 with the use of numerous technical sounding car control terms, some of which probably don’t exist. His views are often whacky and ridiculous but sometimes vaguely logical as well. His dream car is the insane 1200hp Koenigsegg Agera R. Please do get in touch on Twitter (@AidenT_RD)