In an otherwise lackluster 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, there’ll be a lot of attention paid to the few new products of any serious merit – and one of those is the eagerly-awaited Toyota FT-86, the rebirth of one of the Japanese giant’s most heralded nameplates.
Officially, the prototype going on display today at Makuhari Messe is nothing more than a show car, but unlike some of the wild and wacky models that have a way of popping up at the biennial Japanese event, then vanishing, never to be seen again, our sources confirm that the FT-86 will reappear in the not-too-distant future, though one of the unanswered questions is which badge it will wear in the U.S.
It’s possible it will make the jump across the Pacific as a Toyota, but it is also possible, we’re told, that the FT-86 concept could show up as the replacement for the Scion tC, the youth-oriented marque’s most sporty model.
That would certainly fit. In prototype trim, the FT-86 revives some of the design cues from the last production car, known to aficionados as the Hachiroku – 86 in Japanese – which was pulled from the Toyota line-up in 1986.
The most notable detail is the gulping, shark-like grille, which is surrounded by a pair of straked vents. The overall theme is triangular, and though there’s a vague similarity to the Nissan GT-R, the look is a lot less over the top – until you check out the interior, which is exactly what one might expect at the Tokyo Motor Show, down to the zippered CD slot.
While we’ll have to wait for the official news conference for specific details, we’ve learned that it will be fitted with a 200 horsepower 2.5-liter boxer engine.
Yes, that’s right. The engine is sourced from Subaru, which entered into a partnership with Toyota, several years ago, after a controlling stake in the smaller Japanese maker was sold off by General Motors. The FT-86 is the product of the new partnership, and variations of the sporty coupe will be sold by both Toyota and Subaru. The latter, according to reports from Japan, will market an STI edition with the output of that boxer powerplant bumped up to 250 hp. Even more powerful turbocharged versions could follow.
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