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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.

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Antuan Goodwin

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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?
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Toyota FT-86 concept

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.)
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What's in a name?

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!
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Production concept

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.
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Big brake kit

These huge brakes would be nice as part of a performance package, but most likely won't see the showroom floor. This is Toyota we're talking about and it hasn't changed that much.
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Hachi hatch?

It's difficult to tell from photos, but it appears that the FT-86 will be a coupe, not a hatchback/liftback.
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Subaru's boxer configuration

Under the hood is a 2-liter variant of Subaru's boxer four-cylinder engine that should make between 200-250 horsepower.
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Six-speed manual

Toyota has no dual-clutch technology that we're aware of, so a six-speed manual transmission is your best performance bet.
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Third pedal

If you don't know what the third pedal is for, perhaps you're looking at the wrong car.
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Dual exhausts

Hopefully, that dual exhaust setup is a concept detail and not a production reality. Sure it looks good, but there's really no need for the additional piping with a four-banger under the hood.
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Interior

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.
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Door panels

That's not to say that we wouldn't like to see this interior on the production car. Contrasting fabrics and textures give the FT-86 a very smart and futuristic look.
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Driver centric

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.
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Fabric buttons

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.)
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Steering wheel

Here we get a closer look at the instrument cluster, which integrates the climate and audio controls. Because these controls are so close at hand, there's no need for steering wheel buttons.
Look closely and you'll see the central LCD screen which displays navigation and audio/visual content.

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