This is the rear-wheel-drive sports coupe that Toyota and Subaru have been co-developing behind closed doors in Japan.
In this unusual joint venture, Toyota and Subaru will each produce their own versions of the car, with sales kicking off in late 2011. Subaru will build all the cars at its Gunma factory in Japan and Subaru’s naturally aspirated 2.0-litre flat four will provide the power for both cars.
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This concept car, badged FT-86, is the Toyota version and is very similar to the proposed production car. The company will be relying on it to restore driver appeal to the Toyota line-up, something that’s been missing since the demise of the Celica and MR2.
It’s also a car Toyota sees as rekindling the spirit of its one of its old 1980s stars: the similarly codenamed AE-86 Corolla GT, whose easily driftable rear-wheel-drive chassis and eager 1.6-litre twin-cam engine has made it an enduring hero in Japan.
This is a project Toyota has wanted to do for some time now, in order to improve its image and increase its credibility with young Japanese drivers, who have become increasingly less interested in cars in recent years. But for a number of reasons, including the lack of a suitably sporty engine, Toyota’s money men kept it in limbo.
Toyota also wants to keep the car affordable.A target price of ¥2 million (£14,000 at current rates) is the ideal, but with two years still to go until production that could yet change. A price of about £18k is more likely in the UK.