Toyota FT-86 Open pulls up to Geneva with its ceiling missing
The Toyota FT-86 Open was announced as a convertible concept variant of the much hyped Toyota GT86 / Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ sports coupe triplets and it arrives at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show with no surprises in tow. It is literally and simply a custom version of the car we know sans the roof; exactly what it says on the tin.
Just because we're not surprised by the Open concept, doesn't mean that it's any less interesting as a concept for a future Toyota (and, by extension, Scion) model. The FT-86 departs from the archetype established by the Hachiroku AE86, which was never offered as a rag top, to the best of my knowledge.
Also like most coupés that are converted to convertibles after the fact, the FT-86 Open's design has a few rough spots. For example, the rear deck begins to curve upward at what would be the end of the roofline, but terminates awkwardly. A smooth transition would look better, but I'm really nitpicking at this point.
However, if you were unimpressed with the GT86's 200-horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque, prepare to be disappointed again. The FT-86 Open uses the same boxer-four engine. On the other hand, fans well-balanced, rear-driven, open-topped sports cars who want more space than the oft-compared Mazda Miata offers should be chomping at the bit for this car's production.
The Open concept makes use of a special pure bright white paint with the folded fabric top and interior trim being a contrasting navy blue. Gold accent stitching on the interior are supposed to remind us of Milan. Okay, sure...
Toyota claims that the GT86 was already developed with a convertible version in mind. Hence, its frameless doors didn't need modification. On the other hand, the chasis will still need to be braced and stiffened to deal with the lack of the aluminum roof, which is a structural member in the coupe.
So while the FT-86 Open is not necessarily an afterthought, the automaker will still need to put in a bit more R&D before a convertible Scion FR-S or Subaru BRZ rolls onto your dealer's floor and strips down. For now, the Open is merely a design study.