While America slept the Toyota FT-86 Concept II was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show. According to Toyota, this is the best indication yet of what the production version of the RWD reborn AE86/Toyobaru/FT-86 will look like, and during the press conference they didn’t hesitate to refer copiously to Toyota’s sports car heritage, starting with the Sports 800.
Repeated mentions of the AE86 Corolla Levin were peppered throughout the speech. To really bring it home, Toyota quoted a personal story from current president and avid racing enthusiast Akio Toyoda’s past:
“When the Toyota 2000GT was built, I was eleven years old – and I loved it. I said: ‘I want to drive something like this when I grow up’. My dream came true when I drove a 2000GT in a vintage car rally. That was a really great experience. I want young people to feel those same desires when they see a new Toyota sports car. I want to transfer the thrill of the race track to our vehicles, and make driving fun and exciting for our customers.”
Stylistically, changes from the 2009 FT-86 Concept include the addition of vents on the front wings, which flow nicely into a nice character line that meets a more tapered greenhouse at the C-pillar. That, in combination with a more pronounced rear wheel arch makes a very svelte profile.
Its new-found aggression is due to a sportier front fascia, flared rocker panels, and the elimination of the 2009 car’s ridiculous directional-spoke wheels. The rear’s also been reworked with a spoiler, a diffuser-esque rear, and openings under the taillights that hint at the Lexus LFA. Presumably, some of these aero elements will be options on higher trim levels.
Mechanically, there were no surprises. The FT-86 II is still rear-wheel-drive, a 6-speed manual, and will be powered by a mid-FR Subaru boxer engine. Yes, we know some purists hate this idea, but if badge/motor consistency is a must Subaru has also announced their version of this car, and parting from Fuji Heavy convention, it will also be RWD. Apparently they’re still working on the body but here’s what the guts will look like:
UPDATE: Video of the FT-86 Concept II in Gran Turismo 5.
The FT-86 goes on sale in 2012.Toyota’s full press release and more images are below.
— Toyota has been creating exciting sports cars for over 50 years
— FT-86 II concept previews the next generation of Toyota sports car
— Entirely driver-focused concept designed to capture the intrinsic joy of driving
— Boxer engine for light weight, low centre of gravity and optimum power-to-weight ratio
‘When the Toyota 2000 GT was built, I was eleven years old – and I loved it. I said: “I want to drive something like this when I grow up”. My dream came true when I drove a 2000 GT in a vintage car rally. That was a really great experience. I want young people to feel those same desires when they see a new Toyota sports car. I want to transfer the thrill of the race track to our vehicles, and make driving fun and exciting for our customers.’ Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation.
Since Toyota began the development of its 2-cylinder boxer engined Sports 800 in 1962, the company has maintained a long history of creating exciting, driver-focused sports cars that have proved as popular with the public as they have been successful in competition.
The beautiful 2000 GT helped establish the company’s global reputation as a sports car manufacturer.
With its reputation for delivering pure excitement and embodying the fundamental joy of driving, the Corolla Levin AE86 is the inspiration behind Toyota’s latest sports car concept, the Future Toyota-86 II.
Sharing its predecessor’s front engine, rear-wheel drive credentials, the FT-86 II concept introduces a new generation of sports car which perfectly recaptures the exhilarating spirit of the last Corolla Levin AE86.
Passion is Back, the FT-86 II concept Gives Form to the Intrinsic Joy of Driving
With the proportions of its long, low bonnet, high wings and rear-set cabin paying homage to Toyota’s illustrious sports car history, the dynamic power of the FT-86 II concept gives the clearest indication yet as to the final design of Toyota’s next sports car.
The FT-86 II is an entirely driver-oriented concept, designed to give form to the intrinsic joy of driving through precise, instantaneous responses to even the smallest throttle or steering input, for those who regard driving as a passion rather than a necessity.
Based on the ‘Functional Beauty’ concept, its bold, sweeping form has been generated entirely through the constraints of function, and aerodynamics developed from F1 technology.
Its low, highly aerodynamic bodyshell stretched tight over the engineering hard points, the FT-86 II concept’s muscular body work has been made as compact as possible. Featuring a long, 2,570mm wheelbase, the concept is 4,235mm long, 1,795mm wide and just 1,270mm high.
Rather than relying on a heavy, large displacement powertrain for its performance, the FT-86 II returns to Toyota’s sporting roots by combining a free-revving boxer petrol engine and a 6-speed manual transmission with compact dimensions, light weight and a low centre of gravity for the best possible power-to-weight ratio.
Both powertrain and driving position have been set as low and as far back as possible to optimise balance for maximum poise, high speed stability and dynamic agility. Allied to a front engine, rear-wheel drive format, this awards the FT-86 II lively, accessible performance, highly engaging, readily-exploitable dynamic abilities and maximum driving pleasure.
European sales of Toyota’s new sports car will begin in 2012.