The stunning new FT-86 II Concept made its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month, giving the clearest indication yet as to the final design of Toyota's next sports car. It marks a return to the passion for driving that has inspired great Toyota cars of the past, starting with the legendary 2000 GT in the 1960s.
With its long, low, bonnet, high wings and rear-set cabin, the FT-86 II pays homage to Toyota's sports car history and is an entirely driver-oriented concept. It was created at Toyota's European design studio, where its styling was dubbed “functional beauty”: its bold, sweeping, form has been generated purely according to the constraints of function and aerodynamics.
The low, highly aerodynamic, bodyshell is stretched tight over the engineering hard points, with the muscular bodywork rendered as compact as possible. The concept measures 4,235mm long, 1,795mm wide and 1,270mm high, with a long, 2,570mm wheelbase.
Rather than using a heavy, large, displacement powertrain to secure performance, the FT86 II returns to Toyota's sporting roots by combining a free-revving boxer petrol engine with a compact and lightweight six-speed manual transmission and a low centre of gravity to achieve the best possible power to weight ratio.
Both the powertrain and the driving position have been set as low and as far back as possible to optimise balance for maximum poise, high-speed stability and agility. With a front-engine/rear-wheel drive configuration, this gives the car lively, accessible performance that is easy to harness and enjoy.
The FT-86 II Concept is the latest stage in the development of a new, compact rear-wheel drive sports car that is being jointly developed by Toyota and Subaru. The new model will be launched in Europe in 2012.