Yesterday I had a crack at Toyota for displaying some disappointingly ugly concept cars at their pretty awesome Mega Web showroom in Tokyo. Well, the future might look a tad ugly if these concept cars become reality but the present (well, future but pretty close to present) is looking bloody sweet. In the words of Toyota President Akio Toyoda himself, he was “sad that Toyota had no sports cars” in its current line-up. That all changed today.
Today Toyota unveiled the FT-86 sports car. It didn’t disappoint. While it’s still a concept car it’s very close to completion. My very official sources unofficially say that it could, perhaps, hopefully, possibly, probably hit the market within three years and if we are lucky in less than two years as the car is so advanced.
If it is less than two years that that would be brilliant. Why? Because this is a serious sports car from the company that brought you the awesome Celica and Supra in the past. It’s a crying shame they haven’t had a sports car for so long and it’s, frankly, about bloody time they adjusted that.
The most awesome part of the FT-86 is the fact that it’s powered by a 2.0 litre Subaru boxer engine. Toyota, a minority shareholder in Subaru, has pulled a blinder with this move. These are tried and tested engines that are lightweight with serious power. It also means that you won’t be guzzling down the juice either (comparative to other sports cars that produce similar speeds that is). And being that so many cars use them (Subaru’s that is), they are not astronomically expensive.
Toyota has designed the FT-86 with a short wheel-base for a lower centre of gravity to make it a real sports car but the car can still officially seat four. You might want to take that with a grain of salt though as you did with the Mazda RX-8.
The rear-wheel FT-86 doesn’t have a price tag or release date yet, but we hear on good word that it could be priced between $50,000 - $70,000 when it hits our shores. Being a concept I probably shouldn’t say when, but I’m going to anyway. I have a hunch that I’m right to make that assumption as well as make that pricing assumption too. Akio Toyoda did mention that he wanted to bring a sports car within reach of the everyday person. Plus I may have spoken to some Toyota sources who I won’t name that threw these estimates at me. May have. Possibly. Probably. Perhaps…
Damian Francis is the editor-at-large for Australian T3 and contributing technology editor for GQ Australia. He is in Japan as a guest of Toyota Australia.