The Toyota FT-86 concept will be a production reality by 2012, arriving in the UK with a target price of less than £20,000 for the entry level model.
To find out more about the car, which rumours suggest will be formally confirmed for production at the upcoming Geneva motor show, Autocar sent Steve Sutcliffe to meet its designer, Jaromir Cech.
In the metal, says Sutcliffe, the charm of the FT-86 is achingly apparent. For starters, it's no more than two-thirds of the size you'd expect it to be. The Audi TT - not a big car - dwarfs it.
Beyond that, the most striking aspect of the car is how low the bonnet line is and how snugly the whole car seems to hug the ground as a result. This is because the engine is derived from Subaru's famous flat-four 2.0-litre 'boxer' unit.
Senior Toyota designer Cech estimates than the bonnet is around 100mm lower than it would be with a conventional four-cylinder engine in place, but cautions: "It won't be quite as low for the production car. Unfortunately, we have to raise it maybe 50mm to meet pedestrian crash protection legislation."
Mechanically, the car is fairly conventional. Suspension is probably wishbones at the front and almost certainly multi-link at the rear, transmission a six-speed manual and the chassis conventional rear-wheel drive.
What will make it special, claims Toyota, is the ultra-light kerb weight, which may be as low as 1250kg in production trim, its purity of response, its handling agility and the fact it will have a proper limited slip differential.
Another distinguishing feature will be its interior, and in particular its dashboard, which may even include software that provides data acquisition for a host of circuits.
Sutcliffe concludes that the FT-86 is a deadly serious attempt to take a slice of the lucrative affordable coupe market , as well as recapture and repackage the DNA that made Toyota's cars so popular in the past. "The sooner it goes into production, the better," he says.
For the full Toyota FT-86 story, buy this week's Autocar magazine, on sale now.