Could the Toyota GT86 be the most anticipated car of 2012?
It certainly might be for enthusiasts, who have been clamouring for a simple and inexpensive front-engined, rear-wheel drive coupe for years now - most died out in the 1980s, and only premium brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz have offered anything similar since.
Toyota has now announced full pricing and equipment specifications, so petrolheads will have a better idea of what to expect when deliveries start on July 1.
GT86 pricing starts at only 24,995 for the basic six-speed manual, and versions with the six-speed automatic gearbox will hit the road at 26,495. The auto comes with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, so youll still feel part of the action.
Those gearboxes are connected to a 2.0-litre, Boxer engine. If that sounds familiar then you may be aware of the GT86s co-development with Subaru, a company famous for its boxer engine layouts. Theres 200 horsepower to play with and drive hits the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential, for greater traction and control.
If your drifting skills arent up to scratch, you can rest easy in the knowledge that switchable stability control is there to help keep you on the road. Should you manage to crash anyway, there are seven airbags.
The GT 86 has a 2+2 seating layout, with cosseting cloth sports front seats, with Alcantara available for 1,600 extra. Early reviews suggest the driving position is pretty much perfect, and the contrasting red and black trim sets a sporting tone. You get aluminium pedals, leather trim on the gearknob, handbrake and steering wheel, and if you specify the leather and Alcantara trim, youll also benefit from heated seats.
Equipment levels are high, with bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and electric folding mirrors. Theres also dual-zone air conditioning, cruise control, hill-start assist and a Toyota Touch touchscreen infotainment system.
On the outside, Toyota is also offering decal options to personalise your car. Side, roof and bonnet decals are available, priced from 180.
Priced at only a few grand more than a top-spec Mazda MX-5, possibly its closest rival in ethos, the Toyota is sure to attract buyers who prioritise fun over all other factors in their cars. We cant wait to have a go!