Toyota FT-86 may receive the Celica name

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 31, 2011

Early next year, Toyota’s new FT-86 rear-drive coupe will start selling but it won’t have a single global identity since it’s likely to get a name change. For the U.S. market, it will be offered under Toyota’s Scion sub-brand. This means that it can be named Celica in Europe and Japan. According to a source, the “86” in the name is expected to be retained since the model was designed to pay homage to Toyota’s classic AE86 Corolla. Toyota and Subaru collaborated to produce this rear-drive coupe.

To make the car as light as possible, it will feature a version of Subaru’s flat-four ‘boxer’ engine. Toyota wanted this layout to enable it to keep the super-low nose of the FT-86 but reportedly, the design team has had a difficult time of getting the early styling to meet pedestrian impact standards.

Later this year, the final production version of the FT-86 will publicly debut at the Tokyo motor show. It will go on sale in the UK sometime in the first half of 2012.

A heavily winged variant of the FT-86 was photographed to be testing at the Nurburgring. This is actually not a more extreme version. It’s believed that Toyota will offer several optional tweaks to its aerodynamics, including the wing.

Toyota will unveil its FT-86 II Concept to the global public at the 2011 Geneva motor show, allowing the world to get a glimpse of what could be the final design of the carmaker’s next sports car. Once launched, this new sports car should indicate Toyota’s return to the passion of driving that inspired a number of its iconic cars.

A concept with utmost focus on its driver, the Toyota FT-86 II Concept features a styling dubbed by Toyota's European design studio ED2 as “functional beauty.” Its long low bonnet, high wings and rear-set cabin give rise to a dynamic sweeping form defined by function and aerodynamics.

The latest evolution of the sports car concept – measuring 4,235 mm in length, 1,795 mm in width and 1,270 mm in height, with a 2,570 mm wheelbase -- features a low yet highly aerodynamic bodyshell that has been stretched tight over its engineering hard points while its taut bodywork has been made as compact as possible.

For this concept, Toyota took great note of its sporting past by deciding to acquire the needed performance by combining a free-revving boxer petrol engine, a lightweight six-speed manual gearbox and a low centre of gravity, instead of going for a heavy, large displacement powertrain.

Toyota also decided to optimize the balance of the concept to make it stable and agile even in high speed –achieved by setting both the powertrain and the driving position as low and as far back as possible. Thanks to a combination of a front engine and rear-wheel-drive setup, the Toyota FT-86 II Concept is able to provide a performance that is accessible and enjoyable.

The new Toyota FT-86 II Concept represents the latest phase in the development of a new compact rear-wheel drive sports car being jointly developed by Toyota and Fuji Heavy Industries. The launch of this final model in Europe is set in 2012.

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