With all the hype around the new Toyota 86, you could be forgiven for thinking they will be everywhere soon. They won’t, as Toyota is limiting production, but if you want to be original anyway, you could try one of these instead.
Renault Sport Megane R.S. 250 Cup
Don’t laugh, the French make really great hot hatches… OK, Renault do at any rate. The Megane R.S. 250 Cup continues the tradition in a sharply styled and almost practical car. You could get groceries in the back if you wanted to, but they would go everywhere being that the car has 2.0 litre turbocharged engine throwing out 184kW of power and 340Nm of torque at 3,000rpm. It’s a solid unit at just under two tonne but a hell of a lot of fun to drive as well.
Price: From $41,990 plus on roads
Volkswagen Scirocco R
Golf’s are everywhere, so forget about the GTi, instead go for the Scirocco R. Like the Toyota 86, it’s mean and low, but it’s also turbocharged with four additional kW to the Renault Sport Megane R.S. 250 Cup. There is slightly less torque though but the drive is still brilliant and the 19-inch wheels give the already mean looking car a little bit more of an edge. This will eat the 86 up and spit out the left overs… it will also do the same to your wallet though. If you want an automatic for some reason, the VW DSG is one of the best.
Price: From $52,788 drive away
Suzuki Swift Sport
Don’t want to spend more than the Toyota 86 will cost you? Your options are seriously limited then. It’s a second hand sports car or… this great little Suzuki Swift Sport. Amazing go-kart like handling, sharp and cool styling, and arguably one of the most practical with five doors and a decent amount of boot space. The downer? An engine that, while perky, is only good for 100kW from its 1.6 litre four cylinder engine. But you get good fuel efficiency as the pay off.
Price: From $27,094 drive away
It’s been around for years but the lustre is starting to wear off. The WRX is still an icon but other sports cars such as the Golf GTi have really taken the shine off. This is really where practicality meets performance though. All-wheel drive, the choice of sedan or five door hatch with enough back seat space to seat two averaged sized adults and a 2.5 litre Boxer engine which will kick your arse to the tune of 195kW and 343Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. Styling is mean but a little dated and the Impreza, which is was once based on, is already in the new model shape (STi version pictured).
Price: From $44,144 drive away
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
It’s the car you grew up watching smash the World Rally Championship at the hands of Finn Tommi Makkinen. Now, the Evolution name is a shadow of its former self, but it’s still a beast of a car. 217kW of power thanks to a 2.0 litre DOHC turbocharged Mivec engine with 366Nm of torque at 3,500rpm. It may look similar to the standard Lancer, but with a few mean grilles and chrome accent, plus wonderful Brembo brakes and BBS wheels, it will really stand out from the crowd.
You just love the Toyota 86 that much, eh, but can’t pull yourself into buying it. Fear not, you can have exactly the same thing with a Subaru badge on it. Specs? They’re exactly the same as the 86, so don’t make us waste our breath here. Pricing is yet to be confirmed though and Subaru has stopped taking pre-orders it’s just that popular.
Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men’s Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney’s North Shore with his girlfriend.