This a video that compares the Toyota 86’s handling and chassis capabilities to rivals like the current Mazda MX-5, BMW 120i, VW Sirocco 2.0 and a base Porsche Cayman. This is no high intensity video of a track run rather 18 minutes of cone courses and footage of cars getting thrown around curves along with presentation and analysis.
The 86 seems to maintain the same driving characteristics like that of the Mazda Mx-5. Though the Mx-5 suffers from very obvious body roll; without this, it would be almost identical to the 86. The body roll forces the driver to implement more steering effort and it does slow the car down.
While the VW Sirocco sure does show formidable handling capabilities regardless excessive under steer at moments.
The Bimmer, I found to be disappointing. The handling seems a bit difficult to predict. Though it is a premium car, it might not be suited for occasional track fun.
No doubts about the Porsche of course, which had a brief appearance at the 70km/h cornering test. The 86 was aimed to gain very close handling characteristics to that of the Cayman or Boxster. They managed to do it without the silky smooth Porsche touch but it does not cease to impress at least for a sub 30000 USD sports car.
As a verdict, I would say the 86 and Mx-5 are very driver friendly cars. They seem very nimble and more accurate than the more luxurious & refined models being tested here. Though they might be short of a huge power dose compared to the Cayman; this is an advantage as much as it is a disadvantage. Not being over-powered translates to less evil tricks a powerful rear wheel drive car would play on its driver.