In this issue we get two impressive sports cars, starting with the Toyota 86. The starting price is reasonable, about $27K.
This is a special edition Hakone version. It has metallic green paint, rear spoiler on the trunk lid and tan leather. It also includes heated seats, but with hot summer temperatures, we were not planning to try them out. The total fee is just over $30K.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter engine cranking 205 horsepower. If you order the six-speed automatic gearbox, fuel economy is listed at 24/32 mpg. This is a six-speed manual and rated at 21/28 mpg. On long highway trips, we did observe 34, however.
The trunk room is only 7 cubic feet, but they did find space for a real spare tire. There are second row seats, but too small for real people. Perhaps the family dog will be happy there.
We do have three complaints. First, the sun visors don’t block out any sunlight from the side windows, a rather odd presentation. Secondly, the clutch pedal is placed too far to the right. Third, where is the satellite radio? AM/FM on a car in this class just doesn’t seem proper. What is proper is the performance. Acceleration isn’t that quick, but the steering, cornering and braking ability is certainly there. This is a true sports car, and it will not disappoint.
For those who want more, the Lexus RC F is worth a look. Under the hood is a potent V8 engine cranking 472 horsepower, hooked to an eight-speed automatic transmission. A loud exhaust lets them hear you coming as you reach 0-60 mph in about 4.5 seconds. Fuel economy is 16/24 mpg.
More performance means a higher price tag. The RC F starts about $64K. This is loaded up with goodies, so just over $80K. A control knob programs different drive modes: Eco, Normal, Custom, Sport and Sport+. Like the Toyota, these rear seats are for looks only, and in this case there is no spare tire.
If you like to drive fast, this is it! Acceleration is strong, handling in corners is excellent, and the brakes stop in a hurry. But with the engine pulling a mass of just under 2 tons, that fuel gauge can drop in a hurry as well. But who cares when you are having fun?
Chad Haire, of Phoenix, test-drives vehicles for this feature.