Toyota’s forthcoming sports coupe has arrived in Europe for spring mileage at the Nurburgring - and is wearing its final bodywork, judging by the extensive disguise applied to the test car in these latest images.
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.
As such, the car spied here is closer to the second-gen FT-86 II that was shown at Geneva - which tallies with predictions from Toyota insiders that the most recent concept would be “95 per cent” of the final model. Toyota does appear to have softened the edges of the concept’s Lexus LFA-inspired front end, including toning down the gaping air intakes - and integrated its rear spoiler into the bodywork more effectively.
It’s still not clear if the production car will use the same name as the concept, although the ethos behind the model - a tribute to Toyota’s classic AE86 Corolla - would seem to make it likely. Subaru will also sell its own version - which should have a more potent version of the 2.0 motor - and Toyota’s model is being tipped to be sold under its Scion youth brand in the US.
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.