Toyobaru Drift School Post-Mortem

Justin Crenshaw
by Justin Crenshaw
toyobaru drift school post mortem

Regular readers of TTAC already saw Justin Wheels Crenshaw and W Christian Mental Ward had a chance to attend the Abu Dhabi Drift School where the RWD Toyota GT-86 is the car of choice.

After sliding around like hooligans, we both had some opinions on them and continued the discussion at the Viceroy Hotel’s “ Taste of Atayeb” while overlooking Turn 18 of the Yas Island Circuit.

We go the extra mile for you. You want David E Davis levels of luxury? Wheels and I are ready to deliver.

Wheels – What do I like about this car? Maybe the seats, steering wheel and shifter. Otherwise it’s pointless.

Mental – I understand why Toyota and Subaru built this car. They needed to show they could still build a lightweight balanced car. It reminds me of the several 1st gen Rx-7s I owned. It’s fun.

Wheels – Do you want to me to go ahead and admit that I’m glad they built it? Then yes, I’m glad a manufacturer had the balls to produce lightweight car “oriented towards enthusiast driving”, but that’s what a Miata is for. Happy?

Mental – You act like you weren’t having fun driving it. It’s not that much different than your M Coupe, except, you know, it’s affordable. I wouldn’t call it pointless.

Wheels – I had fun because I was sliding around like a hooligan on a wet skidpad. Put me in a school bus doing the same thing and it would’ve been more fun! If you like the damn thing so much why isn’t there one in your garage?

Mental – I wouldn’t turn one down. I agree with your assessment of the seat and the tiller. I even liked the “lift-the-ring-to-get reverse” shifter. It was a throw-back to the glory hot-hatch days. The constant flow of praise about the well balanced nature of the car is spot on. It’s light, chuck able and balanced. The AC works, the radio is clear and easy, the instruments make sense. The clutch is light, and I wouldn’t complain about being stuck in traffic, aside from being stuck in traffic. You could have a great time with it at the autocross, and still take the missus out on date night. It is comfortable and capable. I bet when BMW introduces their joint “Das Supra” Z4 replacement you’ll sing its praises.

Wheels – I bet the Supra will have more than 200hp. There you made me bring up the subject of power, but we both knew it was coming. Oh, but a true drivers car doesn’t need a lot of power, right? True, but it shouldn’t dog out of corners either. Let me to tell you about the HPDE where I drove an automatic FRS; drove every corner perfectly, and yet Mr. Cialis in the Corvette runs me down on the straight and passes me before every corner. Then I have to watch him early apex, drift out, and apply brakes mid-corner. My point is, you can drive this car perfectly and it’s still slow.

Mental – Normally I would retort that it is more satisfying to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow, but that Corvette ordeal should be punishment for insisting your Pontiac 6000STE requires 93 octane. I still believe it’s a good car, not a great one, and not a halo car, but fun. As a pure track car, no, but for the young person who wants a solid capable car that he can dodge cones or run at a track day without breaking the bank or needing a trailer, it’s a solid purchase.

But seriously, why in the hell would you buy an automatic? That totally defeats the purpose.

Wheels – Can we agree to never say the word automatic during this conversation again? I will admit the manual was much more satisfying, but I knew it would be after screaming at that slushbox to “shift already” the entire time on track. And wait did you say take the misses to dinner? Maybe if I was 21 and she was a Fast & Furious fan, but I’m pretty sure if that were the case she’d me more impressed by my dropped Scion TC.

Mental – That’s a deal. Hey what kind of transmission is in your 300 SRT-8?

Wheels– Oh you mean the car I take the misses to dinner in? I do think the car community is obsessed with power these days, but the reality is it’s needed to be competitive. If you’re the least bit competitive at auto-x and track days then you don’t stand much of a chance against (good) drivers in more powerful cars. I won’t belittle you with the cars you can buy for $25k-30k instead of this 151 torques monster. Props to Toyobaru, they built a Miata coupe.

Toyota, Scion and Subaru didn’t pay for a damm thing. In fact, the school took our $275 each then we both forked out another $50 for dinner. Mental highly recommends the eggplant hummus.

Join the conversation
5 of 21 comments
  • Les Les on Sep 22, 2013

    Does it still have that 'Valley of the shadow of NO TORQUE' in it's powerband in the middle of the rev-range I kept hearing complaints about when the Toybaru twins first came on the scene?

  • Mnm4ever Mnm4ever on Sep 23, 2013

    I am so sick and tired of hearing people complain about how 200hp isn't enough power. Of COURSE it isn't going to be as fast as a Vette. Almost nothing out there is, and definitely nothing out there for $25k. I don't know when people became such horsepower snobs. This car is not embarrassingly underpowered, it isn't supposed to be the fastest car for the money, it is supposed to be fun to drive and easy to live with while still able to track it on weekends. I have been reading reports that owners are getting 32+ mpg out of them too, even a Miata cannot do that. Toyota built a small, light, affordable RWD car like the Celica, MR2, AE86. Then people for some reason expect it to be a Supra.

    • See 2 previous
    • Epsilonkore Epsilonkore on Sep 27, 2013

      @mnm4ever On a trip (this past Monday night) from Nashville and Memphis (and back) I was able to average 39.1Mpg according to the onboard system and my DashCommander OBDII software. I was doing quite a bit of hypermiling though, clutch in down hills, and driving behind transfer trucks that were going slower than the rest of traffic (safe distance mind you, I could see their mirrors). My average speed was 68mph (some city was combined in with hwy) other than that just a light feathered driving in a way that you are NOT suppose to drive an FR-S. Round trip was 374 miles, with a quarter of a tank left. It wont be repeated unless I am really bored, just wanted to see what I could get if I was really anal about it. I have photos and video to backup my claim as well ;)

  • Vap65689119 Nice car, I think I'd rather have an SC430
  • Theflyersfan They might not be convertible friendly, but if they work on getting the last of the winter crud off of the car during the first spring wash, it's worth its weight in gold. So many of the self-serve car washes seem to have some kind of mechanical problem with one of the nozzles, or out of some chemicals - want to do that at home.
  • Bill Wade It's worked perfectly for me. Google maps is quite good and music streaming is flawless.
  • TheEndlessEnigma How much is TTAC getting from the Amazon referral links? Once again, nice ads camouflaged as an article.
  • Prabirmehta Great review! Brought back memories of my 2005 Z4 - loved it! I recently drove the 2023 Z4 and it felt similar in many ways to my 2005 (despite the much nicer and updated interior). Now your review has me rethinking whether to buy another one? :)