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Toyota FT 86 Concept Vehicle - Return Of The 86? - First Look

Toyota Does Hear Our Cries

Charles Trieu
Dec 4, 2009
Photographer: Courtesy of Toyota

The Supra is dead. The Celica and the Corolla haven't been RWD for a very long time. Has Toyota left us tuners high and dry?

If you're a guy like me, the import performance car market has three categories of options. For AWD sedans, we have the Evo and WRX. For RWD coupes we've got the 370Z, G37 and Genesis Coupe. And lastly for convertible roadsters you have the S2000, 370Z and Miata. Well where's Toyota in all of this? We do love the Scions, the hybrids and the many SUVs, but the super manufacturer has to give us some fun cars to tune. The coming LF-A is tease for most of us, as we can't afford anything in that range, let alone afford some of the other cars I've already mentioned. Well, Toyota didn't forget about us.

This is the FT-86 concept car. What does it have in common with the old AE86 other than the number code? The FT-86 concept is powered by a front engine four-cylinder and is RWD. Yes, RWD. In collaboration with Subaru, they've developed a 2.0-liter C-45 boxer engine that's expected to make somewhere between 200 and 250 horsepower. Subaru will most likely offer the same platform in another vehicle, which means there should be plenty of aftermarket parts for the C-45 engine in the years to come.

Aside from the performance, I'm in love with the aesthetics as well. Just when I thought Nissans had the best looking new cars, the FT-86 grasps that futuristic angular style better than any. From the headlights, to the uniquely shaped hood and fender line, to the rear end I like all the characteristics. I can't pick out an area that I don't like. As most manufacturers are enlarging their cars to obese sizes, the FT-86 comes in shorter and lower than a 370Z, G37 or Genesis coupe. This could quite possibly be the smallest two-door RWD coupe we'll ever get.

Going inside, things become even more futuristic and angular, but again all in very good taste. The dashboard and cluster will make you feel like Sulu of Star Trek, piloting a spaceship. The leathered zipper-sealed CD player is creative and hip, but we probably won't get that. The seats are just as cool and sharp, with that popular two-tone style of a concept car; the front bucket seats in white and rear bucket seats in black. It would be very hard for me ditch these for Recaros or Brides.

When will it be out? Will the production version have all the same features the concept car does? Will it come in a panda paint scheme? Would Takumi Fujiwara's grand kids drive this? Is it going to be released as a Scion? We'll just have to wait and see.

By Charles Trieu
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