After more than a year of rumors, theories and questions, the lovechild of the Toyota-Subaru joint venture has been unveiled. This predecessor to the rear-wheel drive, drift-legend Corolla AE-86 takes shape with a modified Subaru Impreza chassis and Toyota badges as the FT-86 concept.
The FT-86 is still in concept form and will make its first public appearance later this month at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show. The pictures of the newest sports car from Toyota show a 2 + 2 coupe, with wheels and body lines similar to the Lexus IS-F.
The most intriguing part of the FT-86 is its powerplant. Toyota has decided on a 2.0-liter flat four-cylinder from Subaru, a naturally aspirated version of Subaru's turbo fours. The drivetrain layout has been converted to rear-wheel drive, instead of the all-wheel drive familiar with Subaru cars. The engine will be mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
Toyota says they chose the naturally aspirated version of this 2.0-liter boxer engine to keep weight and costs down--while maintaining a low and balanced center of gravity. Insiders are saying the FT-86 handles and accelerates brilliantly, a point Motor Authority will confirm as soon as possible.
The FT-86 is to begin selling sometime in late 2011 to the Japanese market. As usual, expect styling and power output to change drastically in that time period. The projected pricing will start around $25,000.
Ever since the demise of cars like the Celica, MR2 and Supra, Toyota's model lineup has lacked a true sports coupe for people who like fun cars. The FT-86 might just be the one to get them back into the game. Stay tuned for more of Motor Authority's coverage from the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.-Robert Dillman