Looks owe much to 2007 FT-HS (below)...
These are the first official images of the Toyota FT-86 concept, the much-anticipated ‘Toyobaru’ coupe that will finally be revealed at the Tokyo motor show later this month.
Although officially still a concept, the FT-86 is said to be very close to the production version of Toyota’s half of the joint-venture sports coupe project.
Reports say the compact rear-drive Toyota will be built by Subaru alongside the latter company’s own version of the project. Both cars will share a Subaru-sourced 2.0-litre naturally aspirated flat-four engine.
Today’s Subaru 2.0-litre boxer is a 146bhp, 141lb ft unit but, by the time the cars hit showrooms in late 2011, that engine is likely to have been superceded by an updated version - so a little more power is at least a possibility.
The production version of the FT-86 will be the first genuinely sporty Toyota since the demise of the MR2 in early 2007.
Design-wise, the FT-86 owes a great deal to the FT-HS hybrid concept from the 2007 Detroit show, although it is much smaller. The FT-HS was conceived as a spiritual successor to the larger Toyota Supra and, although the FT-86 shares the same front-engine rear-drive layout, it is a whole class of coupe lower.
In fact, at 4160mm long and 1760 wide, it is almost 180mm shorter and 80mm narrower than a three-door Ford Focus.
Although Toyota says the car is indeed close to the production version, you can expect smaller wheels and a more subdued interior (which Toyota says ‘expresses modern feel with minimal coverage of the highly refined structural components evoking enthusiasm for cruising’) by the time the Toyobaru hits dealers.
The Toyobaru’s diminutive stance and an anticipated sub-£20k price should put it directly up against the new Honda CR-Z hybrid coupe, which is due in the middle of 2010.
FT-86 evokes the spirit of the classic AE86
Looks like the stage could be set for a re-run of the 1980s, when the rear-drive AE86 Corolla (the gratuitous drifting shot to the right) fought the original Honda CR-X for small coupe honours. Let battle recommence…