Toyota FT-86 II Concept -- Geneva Auto Show

Although the real deal won’t go public until the Toyko Motor Show this fall, Geneva provided the clearest look yet at what we can expect when a production version of the new Toyota FT-86 II finally does arrive in showrooms starting sometime in 2012. Developed in conjunction with Subaru, who is preparing its own version of this front-engine/rear-drive sport coupe, the FT-86 II has one of Subaru’s new-gen, direct-injected 2.0-liter “boxer” four-cylinders mounted underhood. Set well back and low in the engine bay to help drop the center of gravity, it feeds power to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and will be handily abetted by a finely-tuned suspension system, although Toyota has yet to reveal any chassis specifics.

While maintaining the same relative proportions as the original FT-86 Concept shown in 2009, this latest iteration boasts more dramatic side sculpting, bolder wheel arches and more aggressive fascia detailing. Up front, the lower air intake has been expanded, the headlamps tweaked and a string of LED running lights now arcs its way down from the main illuminators to a revised splitter. The rear fascia has been similarly rethought gaining a cleaner but more assertive look with new tail lamps and a tidier lower valence panel that boasts a pair of larger, round exhaust tips.

Drawing its inspiration from its 50-year heritage of building sports cars, starting with the stunning Toyota 2000 GT, the Toyota FT-86 II Concept hearkens back to the original Corolla AE86, a lightweight, rear-drive coupe produced from 1983-1987, and still much loved today. Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation, is determined to bring back the kind of pure emotional exhilaration four in each of those two iconic models. In commenting on the Toyota FT-86 II Concept, he noted: “When the Toyota 2000GT was built, I was eleven years old – and I loved it. I said: "I want to drive something like this when I grow up". My dream came true when I drove a 2000GT in a vintage car rally. That was a really great experience. I want young people to feel those same desires when they see a new Toyota sports car. I want to transfer the thrill of the race track to our vehicles, and make driving fun and exciting for our customers.”

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