2016 Mazda MX-5 Takes on Toyota GT 86 in Track Battle in Britain

2016 Mazda MX-5 Takes on Toyota GT 86 in Track Battle 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
Here we go again, meddling with forces beyond our understanding. There are literally millions of fans in both the Mazda MX-5 and the Toyota GT86 camps. Whatever we say, it's going to rub some of them the wrong way.
The affordable Japanese sports car market isn't what it used to be. Still, two champions exist and despite being very different, they are easy to compare. One sticks to the classic roadster formula while the other uses a boxer engine and coupe body.

A couple of months ago, we showed you a clip where the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5 went up against the aging Subaru BRZ in an episode of Head 2 Head. The scenery has changed, as we're at Britain's Blyton Park Circuit where Steve Sutcliffe tests the Mazda against its Toyota rival, the GT 86.

It's entertaining to see him resist the temptation to get the tail out while doing the hot lap. Both cars don't have a lot of traction, so being precise isn't their thing. The Mazda manages to surprise Steve by being slightly faster than the GT 86 around the circuit.

Of course, we can already imagine that fans of the Toyota are going to point out the's a TRD package that makes everything from the brakes to the suspension much better. But Toyota also increases the price. Add all the performance goodies of the TRD pack and you’ll be looking at a bill of around £40,000.

The amusing thing is that even though they are in the same class, the Miata can be a lot cheaper than the GT 86. A basic model with the 1.5-liter 131 PS engine costs only £18,500 while the GT 86 Primo stickers for £22,700. Still, you can't say that isn't good value when there's a 69 PS difference and a huge boot separating them.

Neither of these RWD machines is a good all-rounder, so we'd definitely pick the more energetic and agile Miata. It's got all the sense of occasion a weekend car needs plus the looks of a manga comic machine.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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