Toyota changed the design of the FT-86 due to negative feedback

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 10, 2011

Toyota chose to redesign the FT-86 mainly because of driver feedback from early development tests. The FT-86 had appeared in closer-to-production form at the Geneva Motor Show. The FT-86 II still has the original concept’s basic silhouette but its nose has been lifted to meet pedestrian impact regulations. However, the most major change is on the A-pillars, which were moved back by around 100mm at the base, resulting in a more upright windscreen.

The vehicle has also received a remodeled rear end, and LEDs in a new front bumper that is inspired heavily by the 2007’s FT-HS concept.

In an interview with Autocar, Akihiro Nagaya, the manager of Toyota’s design division, said that test drivers were asked to give their reactions to the early prototypes of the car, which features a floorpan and flat-four engine developed with Subaru. The drivers said that a type of ‘tunnel vision’ was created by the angle of the A-pillars.

This may sometimes make the car difficult to place on the road, especially at higher speeds. Nagaya said that Toyota planned this car to be inspired by the ‘86’ [the original Corolla AE-86], which was easy and pure to drive and so they felt that they had to change the FT-86.

Nagaya revealed that the Geneva car is “a fair indication” of the final production model, which will arrive at the Tokyo show in December.

Toyota is taking the wraps off its new Toyota FT-86 II Concept at the 2011 Geneva motor show. This show car provides a clearer preview of what could be the final design of Toyota's next sports car. FT-86 II Concept features a long low bonnet, a rear-set cabin and high wings, thereby paying tribute to the Japanese carmaker’s legendary sports car history. Driver-oriented and driver-focused, the new Toyota FT-86 II Concept was designed at Toyota's European design studio ED2.

It follows the so-called 'functional beauty' styling, which imposes that function and aerodynamics should dictate the vehicle’s shape and form. With dimensions of 4,235 mm in length, 1,795 mm in width and 1,270 mm in height as well as 2,570 mm in wheelbase, the new Toyota FT-86 II Concept gets a low yet highly aerodynamic body shell that is stretched tight over its engineering hard points. Moreover, its body work has been made as compact as possible.

Conventionally, a spectacular performance would be achievable by employing a heavy powertrain with a large displacement. However, the new Toyota FT-86 II defies that convention by turning to the Japanese carmaker’s sporting roots by employing a free-revving gasoline-powered boxer engine mated to a compact and lightweight six-speed manual transmission. By ensuring a low center of gravity, it is able to achieve the ideal possible power-to-weight ratio.

Toyota also ensured that both the powertrain and the driving position are placed as low and as far back as possible, as this setup would result to optimal balance, paving way for high-speed stability and agility and maximum poise. Thanks to its front-engine/rear-wheel drive configuration, the new Toyota FT-86 II Concept delivers a performance potential that’s just waiting to be tapped and enjoyed.

The Toyota FT-86 II Concept marks the latest phase in the development of a new rear-wheel drive compact sports car, whose development is jointly performed by Toyota and Fuji Heavy Industries. These carmakers plan to launch the new sports car in Europe in 2012.

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