Toyota brings a convertible version of the FT-86 -- also known as the Scion FR-S -- to Geneva.
Toyota has taken a can opener to its wildly popular FT-86 sports car. Well, not quite, but the new FT-86 Open concept it is previewing at this week’s Geneva Motor Show is the long-rumored convertible version of the pint-sized 2+2.
A thinly disguised production model, the Open concept will soon show up in the U.S. as the Scion FR-S convertible. Meanwhile, a nearly identical model should also roll into Subaru showrooms around the world as the two makers partnered on the development of the little sports car.
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The concept model retains the basic layout and dimensions of the sports car, which is marketed under a variety of different badges around the world. That means a 2+2 seating layout, with a Subaru-derived “boxer” engine driving the rear wheels.
Toyota says it still has some engineering work ahead of it before bringing the Open to market.
In show car trim, the FT-86 Open makes its debut in an intense white paint scheme accented by a navy blue top, a color combination meant to evoke the “spirit and atmosphere of Milan, one of the world leaders in fashion design,” says Toyota.
The interior picks up on the color scheme and adds golden yellow carpets.
As with the current, coupe version, the Open is powered by a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed inline-four engine that turns out about 200 horsepower. It is paired to a short-throw manual gearbox, with a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters offered as an option.
The sports car has won kudos for its nimble road manners, enhanced by a MacPherson strut front and a double wishbone rear suspension. The FT-86 is equipped with oversized ventilated disc brakes.
The FT-86 Concept gets a distinctive blue-and-white color scheme - with contrasting yellow carpets.
How soon a production model will be added to the line-up remains to be seen. Toyota has thrown a caution flag, noting that it “has identified numerous areas within which further engineering evaluation must be undertaken” to ensure the sports car maintains its chassis rigidity, weight balance and aerodynamics – though the Japanese giant also notes that from the very beginning of the project the platform was “package protected” to ensure the possibility of adding a cabriolet edition later on.
One of the goals will be to make the convertible weight neutral – in other words, to ensure it stays as close as possible to the roughly 2,770 pound mass of the European coupe version.
Despite the challenges, most observers expect to see convertible versions of the Toyota FT-86, Scion FR-S – and the Subaru BRZ – in the near future. It will join a higher-performance turbo model that will also add more kick to the various models, one of the few other things fans have said the sports car needs.