Toyota FT-86 concept (2009 Tokyo Motor Show preview)
An exciting concept from the world's most boring automaker attempts to recapture the allure of the Corolla GT-S.
An exciting concept from a boring automaker
Somewhere between making incremental adjustments to generation after generation of Camry and figuring out how to dumb down the next Supra by making it into a hybrid, Toyota found the resources to design a fun little sports car. Who'd have thought?
Built in partnership with Subaru (of whom Toyota owns a ~16% stake), the FT-86 is a compact 2+2 with sports car looks and power going to the proper wheels. (That would be the rear pair, in case you were confused.)
The moniker FT-86 is no accident. The FT stand for "Future Toyota" and the 86 pays homage to the legendary 1980s Corolla GT-S AE86 "Hachiroku." Moving forward by looking back? Sounds like marketing-speak to me. Then again, Toyota used to make some fun cars!
At least externally, the FT-86 is a fair representation of what a modern day production Hachiroku would look like. We expect a few tweaks for cost savings and crash worthiness, but hopefully what we see here will be what we get later.
While the exterior is believably production-worthy, the interior is still rather conceptual. Honestly, we'd expect Toyota to reuse a number of interior components from its current models, so just picture the Corolla's interior and you'll have a clear idea of what to expect.
Noticeably missing from the FT-86 is the center stack. Normally, there are centrally mounted controls for audio and climate controls, as well as a color display of some sort. The FT-86 moves all of these controls as well as the display to the instrument cluster for an uncluttered dash.
Just inward of the driver are a set of fabric buttons for audio controls. Above and below these buttons are two inexplicable zippers. Guess which of these features will make it to production. (Spoiler: Neither will.)