The wait for Toyota’s rear-wheel drive coupe is nearly over. The new Toyota FT-86 II was unveiled today at the 2011 Geneva motor show, alongside the Subaru version.
The two sports cars are being co-developed and Toyota president Akio Toyoda makes no bones about his mission for the FT-86: ‘I want to transfer the thrill of the race track to our vehicles, and make driving fun and exciting for our customers,’ he said.
That’s right, this car could just signal the end of Toyota’s unfortunately dull reputation since the demise of cars such as the Celica and Supra. Toyota is positioning the FT-86 as the spiritual successor to those coupes, and of course the legendary rear-wheel drive AE86. It’s some counterpoint to the magnolia Auris, isn’t it?
What’s new on the FT-86 II?
Our pictures show a car that’s nearer to production reality, with a very Subaru-influenced surfacing on the flanks and a host of new details: the lower air intake is now a taller, more aggressive shape and the all-pervasive LED day running lights now follow the arc down from the headlamps to the spoiler. The wheelarches are more pronounced too.
Toyota FT-86 II: the lowdown
The FT-86 was designed with input from the company’s ED2 European design centre and the aero package has been developed with expertise gained during the company’s F1 exploits. Apparently.
Toyota has form in facelifting concept cars. Remember the long, drawn-out gestation of the Lexus LF-A? Now it’s the FT-86’s turn to be pepped up, hence the II tag added to the name. All you need to know is that this car is much closer to production. And that means that the zip-up dashboard is sadly consigned to the concept car dustbin.
It’s a compact sports car, measuring 4235mm long, 1795mm wide and 1270mm high. That low nose is allowed by Subaru’s boxer engine, which sits low in the nose mated to a six-speed manual box.
FT-86: rear-wheel drive
The FT-86 II is rear-wheel drive design, meaning that this Toyobaru mixes the specialisms of both brands. Subaru is firmly wedded to flat-cylinder engines, but is alien to rear-drive.
The two companies announced they’d work together in August 2009. Three years later, the production cars will be on sale – with Toyota promising the final version in showrooms in 2012.