Toyota’s new FT-86 rear-drive coupe looks set to get a name change before it goes on sale in early 2012.

In the US it’ll be sold under Toyota’s Scion sub-brand so there’s no single global identity, leaving the door open for the Celica name to make a reappearance in European and Japanese markets. A Toyota insider says 86 is likely to be retained in its name somewhere, however, as the car has been conceived as a tribute to Toyota’s classic AE86 Corolla.

Read the latest on the Toyota FT-86's development

The rear-drive coupe is a joint project between Toyota and Subaru, and it’ll use a version of the latter firm’s flat-four ‘boxer’ engine in a bid to keep weight as low as possible. Toyota also hoped this layout would allow it to retain the FT-86’s super-low nose, but the design team is said to have been struggling to get the early styling to pass pedestrian impact regulations.

The final production version of the FT-86 is expected to make its public debut at the Tokyo motor show at the end of this year. UK sales will start in the first half of 2012.

Meanwhile, the pictures of a heavily winged variant of the FT-86 testing at the Nurburgring are not a more extreme version. Instead, Toyota is expected to offer some aerodynamic modifications, including the wing, as options.