You’ll remember the Toyobaru, the compact rear-drive sports coupe that Toyota and Subaru are developing together.
This is the spiritual successor to the tail happy '80s Toyota Corolla GT, the long time fave of Japan’s late night drifting crew.
Toyota’s long wanted to do a new one. Now, it’s going ahead albeit with a twist. The new coupe will have a Subaru Boxer engine, be made by Subaru but marketed by both Toyota and Subaru.
Or at least that was the plan when the car was announced in Tokyo last April, with an on sale date then set for late 2011.
The world has turned a lot since last April but still the Toyobaru is on track and around this time next month, you’ll see it for the first time at the Tokyo moto show.
The Toyobaru (it won’t actually be called that but maybe it’s not such a bad name under the circumstances) is still under wraps for a couple more weeks yet, but I can say the car looks good and has the makings of a cracking drive.
It’s still officially a “concept” and with two years still to go to production, the design and other details (like whether it comes to Europe or not) could yet get to change.
One curio of course is the Subaru engine, the first time one of its Boxer engines has appeared in another manufacturer’s car (if we discount aberrations like the Saab 9-2X, the ill fated Saabaru which was never ever going to work).
For Subaru, it’s a double-edged sword. By sharing the engine with Toyota, it’s potentially opening Subaru up to a wider audience and trying something different, which is good. But at the same time, some will argue it’s diluting its core technology and you wonder how the Subaru faithful will take to the car
Petrolheads at large, however, probably won’t worry too much about that. So long as the car catches the eye and does the stuff on the road, what’s not to like?