The engine sounds spikey and thrummy around idle, just as you would hope a hard-working flat four might. Better still under load, until its detail gets drowned out by a few decibels too much of Toyota’s Active Sound Control piped-in engine noise. Even at its most artificial, though, the GR86’s in-cabin sound track isn’t irksome; it’s a breath of fresh air.
The power delivery is a huge improvement on what went before. The GR86 wakes up and comes usefully on song from little more than 4000rpm, and then, all with such free-spinning range and instant response, it goes right on revving to the far side of 7000rpm, making it at once more seriously and broadly rapid and still worth working hard. Perfect.
Has there been a shade of tactility lost from the steering? Perhaps – but maybe only due to the new car’s 18in wheels, performance tyres and what looks like a slightly smaller-diameter steering rim, all of which might have obliged Toyota to turn up the power-steering calibration just a smidgeon.
But that loss of tactile feel certainly isn’t what’ll make this ‘86 feel different from the last one when you find a proper country road to judge it on. Rather, it will be the outright grip and the restless energy that the chassis seems to have gained – and, just possibly, the fractional shade of super-accessible cornering poise and the fluent touring ride that it has given up.
The GR86 is a sports car to take more seriously than its predecessor was, for better and for worse. It not only goes harder but also turns in more crisply, carries speed more securely and wants to engage that bit more with the revs and the noise and the whizzing adrenaline of speed for their own sakes, instead of just cutting loose in the twisties. It’s a bit less about accessible fun at low speed and more about fun at any speed.