Although nothing has yet been confirmed, it’s understood the GT86 cabriolet will use an electronically operated folding fabric roof rather than a heavier retractable hard-top in order to contain weight increases.
Still to be seen is how Toyota will package the GT86 coupé’s two small rear seats, if it all, and where the roof will be stored without sacrificing too much luggage capacity.
The cabriolet, particularly important for the US market, is likely to retain the coupé’s 197bhp normally aspirated 2.0-litre engine.
Weight gains are understood to be small, limiting the impact on performance. Suspension is likely to be slightly softened to deal with lower body stiffness.
While the cabriolet is yet to be officially declared, the chief engineer of Toyota’s sports cars, Tetsuya Tada, did confirm that a performance version of the GT86 was in the works.
But rather than using forced induction, the honed GT86 is likely to use hybrid drive to provide extra boost without impacting economy. Tada said a GT86 performance hybrid with around 250bhp was in development in Japan, with an on-sale date of 2015 mooted.
Tada suggested the test mule uses a super-capacitor rather than batteries — the same principle that led Toyota to win this year in the World Endurance Championship with a prototype race car.
“When a performance version of GT86 is announced, you will be surprised,” said Tada. “These days, the public does not accept a sports car that uses too much petrol and has high CO2 emissions.”
Tada said super-capacitor technology was too expensive for road cars just now, but that Toyota was working with electronics specialists to solve the issue, and that the performance GT86 could not go to market with a high price if it was to be competitive.