By on September 21, 2013


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 here for you.

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.


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21 Comments on “Toyobaru Drift School Post-Mortem...”

  • avatar

    you guys keep practicing, you’ll have an Abbott and Costello thing going permanently! thanks for an entertaining post. I like this car and if I didn’t already have an S2000, would consider buying one. I suspect it’s more generally usable than the S2000.

    • 0 avatar

      More like Laurel and Hardy

      Oliver Hardy : ” Well…”

      Stan Laurel : “Here’s another nice mess I got you into.”

      200 hp light weight RWD will always be welcome in the market in my book. Once upon a time those sorts of cars were easy to find.

  • avatar

    >>>Let me to tell you about the ***HPDE*** where I drove an automatic FRS;

    Can we cool it with the acronyms? I don’t have the foggiest what the HPDE is, and I don’t want to have to google it.

    ***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.

    So effing what? I wouldn’t want the ‘Vette in the windy, twisty, hilly byways of Clifton VA, where I drive my sister’s FR-S every time I visit. You wouldn’t be able to use it’s power without spinning out into someone’s yard.

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry. HPDE is High Performance Drivers Education. Crenshaw and I are both aviation types, add in some racing stuff and we start to miss how often we do it.

      • 0 avatar


      • 0 avatar

        Hhmmmpph.. I thought the last letter in HPDE stood for Event, is it Education they are calling it these days (although an HPDE is certainly educational).

        • 0 avatar

          I think they switched to event for insurance reasons. Underwriters get a lot more comfortable with education versus “event.” The ones we run, education is a key component. You get some classroom work, ride alongs and tips. Even the instructors will ride with each other to try and get better.

      • 0 avatar

        Don’t apologize for using industry-wide acronyms on an enthusiast site! This is at least the second time I can remember @David complaining about it and it’s silly. If you want to be a car enthusiast you should learn these things, and yes, that means you might have to fire up another browser tab and Google it. That’s a pretty easy way to educate yourself. If you want to read about cars and not be an actual educated enthusiast, I would recommend trying out Yahoo, MSN, and AOL car sites, they are written for the masses. Let’s not dumb down TTAC please.

      • 0 avatar

        I read it as HDPE and thought “That’s not BPA-free, is it?”

        I grew up in an aviation home, all I knew was acronyms growing up. And the phonetic alphabet, which is a big hit with the ladies in middle school.

  • avatar

    The trouble with the Toyobaru being slow… a 200 horsepower car is supposed to be fast. A 200 horsepower lightweight car is supposed to be really fast.

    A 200 horsepower Toyobaru with the automatic is NOT fast. You get beaten off the line by 2.0 econoboxes with slushboxes. That’s embarrassing. Of course, outright speed is not the point of the car, but it’s hard to see how the six-speed auto can be so much slower than the manual… unless the transmission is made of lead.

    The manual transmission is a whole lot better. And it felt better, last time I had a go in one of those, than the supposedly identical box in the MX-5.

    • 0 avatar

      what cars are you talking about which are heavier than the frs with a naturally aspirated 2.0, and are faster. The only car thats close is the civic si. The 2.0 civic si takes 6.6 seconds for 0-60mph according to motortrend. The frs does it in 6.4 according to motortrend. The 2.4 civic si is faster than the frs but i cant think of any 2.0 econoboxes that are faster.

    • 0 avatar

      I want to live in the world you’re living in where economy cars are faster than an auto FRS. What stock 2.0L automatic economy cars are posting mid 7 second 0-60 times?

    • 0 avatar

      We had it at the track earlier this year. The manual transmission car is quick, no doubt, but the automatic is dog slow off the line.

      The Focus 2.0 with direct injection hit the same time.

      In previous years, we’ve had the Focus 2.0 TDCi and a Corolla 2.0 (with the Camry motor and an automatic) hit 100 km/h in about nine seconds flat.

      Obviously, the 200 hp GT86 would blitz them by the end of the quartermile, but it is not the quickest car off the line. Note that the MINIs and the RCZ (just the 160 hp versions) at the test were also automatic.

      My beef is not with the two hundred horses. When you get to the part of the powerband where it makes them, it feels great. But the midrange leaves something to be desired.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed, the engine is not well-suited to making power with the automatic. It has to be revved to get to the powerband, and if you care about the performance then you buy the stick.

      And if bought one with the auto then you should be embarrassed about that, not about losing races with econoboxes.

      Oh and a 200hp car is not supposed to be fast, it’s just supposed to feel quick and fun. This car is all about dynamics, and even if you can find an econobox that will leave you at the stoplight, it still won’t have those same dynamics.

      • 0 avatar

        Of course, it shouldn’t feel slower than cars with less than 200 either.

        Totally agree… if you buy the BRZ/86 with the auto, you’re missing the point of the car. It’s a pretty good automatic otherwise, but you lose a lot of the fine control over the car’s balance you get with the manual transmission. (on-throttle/off-throttle balance changes, clutch-kick, aggressive engine braking, etcetera…)

  • avatar

    What year is the 6000STE?

  • avatar

    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?

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      I am AVERAGING 31.8 with mixed city and hwy driving using 0% ethanol gasoline. I am not driving super aggressive, but not driving slow either and it is a SOLID, repeatable 31+ MPG.

      On the interstate, where you would expect to hit higher MPG, I average 34 even while driving 70-80mph. I could achieve higher, but I dont like pissing off people behind me like I can when driving my Prius C.

      Gunning it like a hoon around town I have hit as low as 25mpg on a tank of E10 gas. That was when I first bought it and revved insanely around the old country back roads of my youth.

      The DS4 injection system obviously is doing something right on the economy side of things, even if it isn’t satisfying everyones Corvette hunting dreams…

      I would also like to point out that this car gets IDENTICAL real world fuel economy to my 1994 Celica. That particular car had a much less exciting engine and FWD layout for what would be about $39,500 in todays money. The FR-S is a deal, and a well rounded performer at that.

      • 0 avatar

        My GTI has been averaging about 25-26mpg lately, also mixed driving. Since moving I deal with a lot less stop-and-go traffic and lights, so the average has come up from 21-22mpg that I used to get. I am able to spend a lot of time in the 40-50mph sweet spot which helps. The only way I can average 31+mpg is if I stay on the highway, but don’t go faster than 60mph, and then never stop or get off an exit, because once I accelerate and use the turbo the numbers drop.

        I must say though, our 2001 Celica easily averaged 34-36mpg, that thing was amazing at sipping fuel. Wasn’t as fast of course. Our MR2 is about the same performance as the FRS while averaging right around 27mpg, but I think that’s due to the very short final drive and 5th gear.

        • 0 avatar

          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 ;)

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