Production of the FT-86 Coupe has been put off until 2013 because of “economic reasons,” but Toyota is planning to develop a new small sports saloon off the rear-drive platform that will underpin its FT-86. Toyota thought about creating this “insurance policy” just in case the coupé never enters production.
The coupé is co-developed with Subaru. Toyota is considering how to apply the FT-86’s platform to a sports saloon in order to make up for a drop in FT-86 sales while also maximizing the use of the rare rear-wheel drive platform.
According to industry figures in Japan, the sports saloon project is a safety net in the event that the FT-86 fails. An Autocar report, which cites a source, indicates that the saloon will be powered by the same 197bhp Subaru 2.0-litre boxer engine and six-speed manual transmission (or CVT) that is found on the coupé. It’s likely that the saloon will be positioned between the BMW 1-series and 3-series in size.
It’s expected to be priced at about $31,000 in Japan when sales begin in 2013. In addition, Toyota has the option of using the Subaru Outback’s 3.6-litre flat six engine on the saloon.
It’s likely that when the sports saloon and FT-86 show up in 2013, Subaru would already have launched its own hybrid boxer powertrain. Toyota sees this as another opportunity as petrol-electric versions of the RWD pair are anticipated to be far more stimulating to drive than any of Toyota’s current hybrids. [via autocar]