AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
With the Toyota FT86 Open Concept unveiled last week, Scion FR-S chief engineer Tetsuya Tada explained that the cabrio was inevitable. However, in a new post by Toyota on a corporate blog, Tada isn’t quite done with his vehicle yet, and is looking forward to more FR-S based machines.
Despite rumors that the Toyota FT-86 Concept would debut at the Geneva Auto Show in production form, it appears as though that isn’t the case. As the very first thing show-goers will see when they enter Hall 4 at Europe’s most prestigious motor show, its obvious the importance that Toyota places on this vehicle – a model that could help rebrand the Japanese automaker while giving it some much-needed positive PR.
The rumors of a redesign are also false, which is probably a good thing as the car probably couldn’t get much better looking.
The name FT-86 brings together Toyota’s past and future, with the “FT” coming from the FT-HS hybrid concept from a few years back, while the “86″ is donated from the AE-86, a small rear-drive, two-door Corolla-based sports car (called the Hachi-Roku), made famous by drifters.
Other than the design of the car (which is certainly impressive with plenty of Lexus LF-A inspired goodness), we still don’t know a lot about the FT-86 concept. What we do know is that it will be light weight, with “racecar-like handling” and be powered by a 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine from Subaru.
With Toyota’s press conference set for tomorrow, we’ll be sure to listen carefully for when Toyota plans to bring this sporty model to market.
GALLERY: Toyota FT-86 Concept
Toyota built the FT-86 Concept to re-energize the brand’s image and it seems to have done just that, with young auto enthusiasts the world over itching to get their hands on the production version of this entry-level rear-drive sports car. Company press releases have boasted about the car’s handling capabilities and now it seems Toyota is planning to build the car’s reputation in the best possible way, through motorsports.
Now it’s not Toyota that will be running a professionally trained team in a big motorsports event, but rather the Japanese automaker’s hope that owners of the car will want to take it to the track.
According to a report in EVO magazine, Toyota will offer a stripped down version of the FT-86 with stiffer springs and larger brakes. It’s unlikely that this will be a track-only clubsport model, but rather a street-legal version along the lines of Hyundai’s new R-Spec trim of the Genesis Coupe.
We can’t wait!
[Source: EVO via FT86Club]
Volkswagen is hell-bent on cracking the U.S. market and has decided to follow a production plan that will see it essentially follow in Toyota’s footsteps – for better or worse. Now that plan seems to include a possible entry-level sports car designed to compete against cars like the upcoming Toyota FT-86.
In an interview with Car & Driver, VW of America boss Stefan Jacoby stated that a concept sports car will be shown in the near future (possibly as early as the Detroit Auto Show in January). It will be a two-door coupe with a notchback design and will be targeted specifically at the U.S. market – much how the FT-86 has been described. The only other detail we have it that will likely be over 180-inches in length… again, roughly the size of the FT-86.
VW’s plan to crack the U.S. market will also include a new compact car (which will retain the Jetta name), as well as a New Mid-Size Sedan (NMS). Both of these will be built at VW’s new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant with the new Jetta arriving next year and the family sedan the year afterward.
[Source: Car & Driver]
The rumors about the Toyota FT-86 Concept’s production name are as numerous as the theories, with reports pointing in all sorts of different directions. According to the folks at the U.K.’s AutoCar, the car is likely to be called the Celica. The name is apparently being considered because it has a long history and resonates with consumers. However, most younger buyers (at which the car is aimed) are more likely to remember the Celica as the front-drive model that never quite lived up to the Acura Integra/RSX competition. And if Toyota truly wants this car to represent a new direction for the company, it would be best to go with something original.
Another source, The Detroit Bureau, proposes the theory that the FT-86 will become the next Scion tC. The tC is desperately in need of a replacement and the target audience is right. And considering the FT’s resemblance to the new Lexus LFA supercar, it would create a continuity between Totyota’s brands. The problem with that theory is that the FT would be priced much higher and be more performance oriented than the current tC, meaning the brand would still need a mainstream, front-drive volume seller to compete against sporty rivals like the Honda Civic.
Still, we have to think it will remain a Toyota model and don’t have much faith (or love for) the Celica name.
GALLERY: Toyota TF-86 Concept
The official reveal of Toyota’s FT-86 Concept is just a few days away but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a better look at the company’s latest sports car right now. The folks at FT86Club have dug up a large selection of studio shots that show the concept in much greater detail.
For starters, the car has loads of carbon fiber goodies. There’s a carbon fiber rear diffuser, as well as carbon for the door handles, mirrors and on the wheels. Inside, there’s even a carbon fiber center stack, which houses a push-button ignition. You can be sure these more exotic trims items won’t make it to the production model, but we do expect the general design cues to carry through. Hopefully that includes the intricately sculpted hood that really helps give the car character.
Be sure to check out the dozens of new FT-86 photos in the gallery below.
GALLERY: Toyota FT-86 Concept Studio Shoot