When Toyota set about creating the GT86, the guiding principle was that it should be a car devoted to the pure passion of driving. It is an ethos that has helped earn the sports coupe worldwide acclaim, and now the honour of being named Top Gear magazine’s Car of the Year 2012.
In a clean sweep, it was also Jeremy Clarkson’s personal Car of the Year and the Top Gear Coupe of the Year.
In taking the titles, the GT86 confirmed its status as one of the most exciting new models of 2012. More than that, it is priced to be affordable for many drivers, rather than being an exotic supercar reserved for the ultra-rich.
Charlie Turner, Top Gear editor, said: This is a fantastic achievement, for a car to win a Top Gear award is recognition of a truly exceptional vehicle. Only the remarkable are considered for a Top Gear award and this year the GT86 has proved to be the stand-out machine.”
The award follows the GT86’s success in the magazine’s Speed Week contest, featured in the August issue, in which it emerged the overall victor against competition from such exotic machinery as the McLaren MP4-12C, Porsche 911 Carrera S, and Lotus Exige S.
At the time, Oliver Marriage, motoring editor, said, although slower, the GT86 was more enjoyable to drive than more rapid rivals.
“Acceleration is fun, but the noise is as important as the kick in the back, and I’d rather spend 30 seconds wringing the GT86 up to speed than three seconds being pummelled by the McLaren. You have more time to enjoy it, you feel more like part of the process.”
In the same Top Gear report, senior writer Sam Philip added: “For driving thrills, this is my sort of performance car. Good steering, nice crisp gearchange, revvy engine. You can find its limits, slide it around, without fear of being inadvertently deposited in a loch…”
The GT86 becomes the second Toyota to earn Top Gear’s top award, the Aygo city car having shared the Car of the Year title with the Bugatti Veyron in 2005.
The Toyota GT86 has also been short-listed for European Car of the Year 2013. The winner will be announced at the Geneva Motorshow on March 4.