By on November 27, 2011

Today was the day Toyota’s FT86 was officially revealed. Actually, it will be officially revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show, which will open its doors to the public on December 3. Today, the international media had a sneak preview of the car. Us, and maybe 20,000 people who lined the galleries of the Fuji Raceway where Toyota and Gazoo Racing held its TGRF (Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival).  The masses could witness from afar as Akio Toyoda climbed out of an orange sports car, removed his helmet and waved at the adoring crowds.

The press corps had a chance to drive the car. That opportunity that was immediately turned into hoonery by a rough and tumble contingent from Australia. One of them drove the car with so much enthusiasm that it spun out , did a few twirls and had a near-miss with an Australian cohort. We immediately had proof that the car provided only the barest necessities in computer control, and that one has to know how to drive, unless a rendition of Swan Lake is desired.

Before we get to that, the essentials. The name of the car had been the target of endless speculation. Until yesterday evening, Toyota steadfastly referred to the car as nothing else than a “compact real-wheel-drive sports car.”

Some at TTAC had recommended that the car should get a Japanese name. Toyota listens to its customers and complied.

The car will be called “Hachiroku.”

This is Japanese and means 86.

Yes, Toyota simply dropped the “FT”. It also wants to carry on the spirit of the AE86 of lore.

For me, the most interesting part of today was to sit in a quiet room with Tetsuya Tada, and a handpicked group of journalists. (The man on the right is Hans Greimel of Automotive News.) We could listen to Tada’s comments about the car. We had talked before, in August, but this time, the Chief Engineer of the 86 could be less circumspect and was able to talk openly. He sure did. For starters, I learn that Toyota’s test drivers had given him a very hard time:

“Mr. Toyoda almost continuously participated in the development of this car. Not as President, but as a test driver. Usually, when they say that the president of a company is test driving a prototype car, then it is mostly ceremonial. Mr. Toyoda’s participation was not simply ceremonial. He was a serious test driver and had some pretty tough comments. In some phases of the development. he said: “If that is the best you can do, why not quit now.” One by one, we overcame these problems.

In the grand scheme of things, Akio Toyoda had been polite. Stronger words came from Hiromu Naruse, Toyota’s chief test driver who found an untimely death by crashing his LFA into a BMW 3series on a rural highway close to the Nürburgring. Tada remembers:

“When Naruse-san was still alive, he participated in the tests many time and gave us some quite harsh comments, like: ‘This is a miserable car. You are doing very poorly.’

We tested this car at the Nürburgring. Naruse-san died very close to the Nürburgring, and each time we testdrove the car later, we made sure to pass by the memorial of Naruse-san. We tried to keep Naruse-san’s spirit  alive.”

One by one, the challenges thrown up by the test drivers were met. But there were other people, Tada had to contend with.

“We visited with car enthusiasts in Japan, America and Europe. The feedback we received was almost always the same. They said there are a lot of sports cars with high horsepower that are very fast, but these are not the sports cars that they want to have. They want small compact cars that are controllable, that they can tune themselves. However, that kind of sports car is not on the market. Therefore, these sports car enthusiasts are forced to continue to use older cars from a long time ago, because there is no new alterative on the market.”

Their requirements clashed with another group: Toyota’s board. The board wanted a car that goes faster than other cars. Tada’s colleagues at other car companies had to contend with the same problem:

“We also went to competitors and asked them: “Why do you focus on fast cars?” The response almost always was: ‘Actually, we really don’t want to develop these kinds of cars. But once we bring a plan to develop that car to our board, the first question the directors of the company would ask is: How much faster is that car compared to what the competition has? How many seconds faster around the Nürburgring? What about the acceleration? These questions always come up because numerical performance is the easiest to understand.

Now how did we get the permission from our board? The only reason was that among the directors, there was a person called Akio Toyoda, who is a car enthusiast himself.”

Tada not only had to convince a board that was fixated on numbers. He also had to do something highly risqué: Ditch the Toyota Way of developing cars:

“There is a Toyota standard for designing new cars. This standard was to a large extent ignored. Why did we do this? There are cars that are accepted by a lot of people. Practical cars that are easy to drive and that do not break easily. These are standard Toyota cars. The 86 is not a car like that. We had to change our design approach for this car. We may have to do this again for other cars.

It is impossible to develop a sports car that appeals to everybody. If you try to please everybody, the car would be half-baked for everybody, and not particularly good for anybody.  This car is not developed by a committee, or by consensus.”

And would you believe that even Toyota’s advertising department did not like the car?

“When we first presented this idea to our advertising people, they were drastically opposed to this idea. They complained that the car doesn’t have a particularly fast time on the circuit, it does not use any new technology. They also could not think of a catchy headline for the catalogue.”

Someone should have a chat with that advertising department.

The word of mouth enthusiasm for this car is so strong, maybe it doesn’t need any advertising.  Thousands of grassroots racers around the world are looking forward to a car they can tinker with.  Tada built it for them:

“To make the car customizable, we did away with computers to the highest extent possible. A lot of the cars on the market today are controlled by computers. People have the feeling that they are driven by the car instead of them driving the car. That makes for a boring experience. That is why we decided to go back to the basics of car making. With the low center of gravity, the driver now is in personal touch with the road again.”

How much will this car cost? This remains a state secret. All Toyota says is that it will be “affordably priced.” Asked what that means, Tada launches into a dangerous discourse, with his press handlers getting visibly nervous:

“30 to 40 years ago, there was an AE86, and the price of this car was 1.5 million yen. At the time, that was the starting salary was for a university graduate. We kept that in mind when we priced the car. In the meantime, there has been a rise in prices, and the starting salaries rose also.”

The starting salary of a university graduate in Japan is around 2.5 million yen. In today’s undervalued dollars, this would be around $32,000. We will have to wait until early 2012 when the car is officially released. There will be no pricing announcement at the Auto Show.

All the specs that are available can be downloaded here.

Ah, the test-drive.

I drove the same 86 the Aussie hoons pirouetted through a sharp turn. All I did was make the tires chirp. At a test drive, I like to return the car as I found it. It drove very nicely. It does not press you into the bucket seat with jet fighter g-forces. I am told it will do 230 km/h (143 mph) and will go 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 6 seconds.

Would I buy it?

Yes.

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195 Comments on “Finally: TTAC Gets Its Hands On The FT86. And Its Chief Engineer...”


  • avatar
    kvndoom

    The 6 second 0-60 shows the beauty of weight reduction.

    I am most definitely not a Toyota fan, but I am pulling for this car to succeed, because the future of an important segment of the automotive industry may well be riding on its shoulders. It is an IMPORTANT car.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      +1 – Kudos to Toyota for pursing this and not compromising to accommodate everyone. However didn`t Honda have the S-2000 as a relatively affordable RWD 2 seater sportscar which handled well and that fizzled out over time (66K sold over 10 years in the US). Hopefully more success for Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The S2000 had two big strikes against it – one it is a small convertible, which automatically limits its appeal to a small number of people. Two was a ludicrously high-strung engine that while very rapid if you were willing to wring it’s neck to the redline all the time, was really rather useless when you are just driving along. Also, not all that affordable, IIRC an S2000 was the best part of 50% more money than a Miata. And having driven both, the Miata was the more usable car 90% of the time.

        I can’t see the Ft-86 selling in overly huge numbers. It will be too expensive for the young to buy new, especially with the 2-seater sports car insurance penalty that will be slapped on it. Which is OK, it is not meant to sell in Camry volumes. The middle agers who can easily afford it as a toy will mostly continue to buy Mustangs. And I will bet that Subaru will sell more of thier version of it than Scion will Toyotas.

        For myself, I would not buy it simply because it is too expensive to have as a toy. My Alfa GTV-6 is similar in concept, but it is old enough for antique plates so no annual inspection, and insurance costs $75/yr for $9K in classic car coverage. Reliability doesn’t matter as much when it is your 6th car.

      • 0 avatar

        I would be very likely to buy this thing if it sells in the mid-20s, and if it has enough headroom for me (my torso is probably as long as the average 6’2″ person, and I do’nt fit a lot of sports cars). I like the seating for four, the hardtop, the smallish engine (and probable excellent handling and good gas mileage that will go with it). Also the probable reliability. I even like the aesthetics.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Like krhodes1, I can appreciate this car – yet I’m defintely not a customer for one. Why? Because, for the amount of use I’d give it, my Porsche 924S already sitting in the garage does the job just fine. Yeah, it’s doesn’t accelerate as quickly, but that’s A non-issue. I tend to pull out slowly and not really pick up speed until I hit the twisties. And like that GTV-6, my Porsche comes up for vintage plates in January. So it’ll go on my JC Taylor policy alongside my two motorcycles.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Krhoes – good point about the Miata and the fact the S2000 was a convertible. I had also forgotten that this was to be badge engineered as a Subaru so any volume is shared between two brands (Sierra/Silverado!)

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        “I like the seating for four…”

        Only if limited to kids in the rear.

      • 0 avatar
        protomech

        2.5M yen may directly translate to $32k USD, but a better comparison is against similar japanese car prices.

        Base 4WD RAV4 is 2.32M yen, or $23.9k USD here. That looks more like $26k base price.

        Against a 3.8L Genesis Coupe? I’m leaning more towards the 86 .. but the Genesis Coupe isn’t exactly flying off the shelves here.

      • 0 avatar
        ChrisHS

        krhodes1: As a current S2000 owner and past Miata owner, you are very mistaken as to the engine character of the S2000′s F20C and especially the F22C. The F20C has a very flat torque output across the rev range. I can easily shift mine at 3000RPM and keep up with quickly accelerating traffic, which I could never do in my old Miata. The Miata is only a 1.8 that is not tuned to the extent of the 2.0/2.2 in the S2000.

        The reason that it may not feel this way on a quick drive is that although the S2K in fact has more low end torque than the Miata and better gearing that allows for more ‘usability’ around town, it also has an extra 2000 RPM over the Miata. This gives the first impression that the car ‘needs’ to be revved that high to get useful power out of it – but if you ever drive one again, you’ll find that shifting it below 6000RPM (VTEC crossover) will bring more than adequate power. If it had a 7000RPM redline it would still be a quick car.

        I’ve always though of the S as a 150% scale Miata – bigger, more powerful, much better constructed and stiffer. Unfortunately it was also quite a bit heavier due to its rigidity. And it was never competitively updated, just allowed to wither and die as Honda allowed all of its great products to do.

        Also, in the US the S2K was only 25% or so more expensive than the Miata LS.

      • 0 avatar

        > “I like the seating for four…”
        >
        > Only if limited to kids in the rear.

        Some of us fit (or know folks who fit) just fine in the back seats of a Porsche 944, this can’t be any worse.

        That’s really what this is shaping up to be to me, is a modern-day 944S with what appears to be a wildly less problematic engine due to modern engineering.

      • 0 avatar
        cmmathes

        I was under the impression Honda went from 2.0 to 2.2 liters to increase torque because people felt the car was sluggish at low speeds.

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      The GT-R was universally praised, yet it has not sold well!

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        And that’s the problem this car will have: the same as the GT-R and RX-8**. Sports-car buyers are, well, fickle douchebags.

        It doesn’t matter that it’s a good car when we’re talking about what amounts to toys. People want pomp and circumstance; if they wanted practical, they’ve have bought a Corolla (or if they wanted a modicum of sporty looks, perhaps a Kia Forte Coupe). If they want sporty, weeeeell….

        I say this as someone who likes this car. I don’t think it’s long for this world

        ** and possibly the last Celica to grace these shores; I always thought that car was the best Integra Honda never built.

      • 0 avatar
        chiropaul

        Well I think the GT-R isn’t selling well because it is an $80k car. And each year the price climbs. I personally would love a GT-R, and if I didn’t have a family of 5 I would already own one. But many folks in this price range are cross shopping the M5 and for me the choice is M5 since I can haul my 2 y/o around and my wife won’t kill me. Lol. Can’t wait for the new M5, plan on European delivery!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Fivespeeed

      This is an underpowered car. Period. It’s a Celica or Eclipse in the way that a Celica or Eclipse was a ‘chick’ car. That’s right, it’s a chick car, and deep down, all of these fanboys know it, even if they don’t want to admit it. Toyota could have built the next fire-breathing Supra, and I’m sick to my stomach that they didn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        geggamoya

        That is exactly why i will also order the “humongous peen” graphics package. just to show how manly i am.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        At no point was this car EVER going to be the next fire breathing Supra. All this talk about how it needs 300hp and turbos and extra doors and more room is BS. They set out to build a small light sports car in the spirit of the original AE86. Where is the confusion?? Thats what this is, like it or not. It has RWD, so its more sport oriented than a GTI, MS3, Civic Si, etc. Its small and light like the RX8 was, but without the ugly mid-doors and thirsty engine, its similar to the Miata and S2000 but without the convertible and 2-seats, and its less expensive than other small RWD coupes on the market like the 135i. The Celica and Eclipse were “chick” cars because they were FWD. This is the next AE86 or 240SX.

        Will it sell? I think it will sell about like a Miata, and it will steal sales from the Civic Si coupe, 135i, etc. I think you underestimate just how many 2-dr small coupes are selling, and this is a good option compared to any of them simply because it offers RWD and Toyota reliability. Its obviously better than a Forte coupe, a Tc, Civic Si, Veloster, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        steeringwithmyknees

        fivespeeed missed the part about it being designed for owners to customize – like most chicks are well-known to do. Isn’t everyone building fire-breathing cars? Across all categories? This one is different. If they built the next Supra, everyone would immediately start comparing it to the Z (and Subaru’s version to the Evo).

        I say this under the assumption it remains an “affordable” car. Like, 25k or less in it’s most basic form/trim. There just arent many small light cars with Right Wheel Drive and 6MT? The ones that do develop cult followings and maybe toyota is just trying to add some practicality to it? Again, I really think the X factor here is the price.

        200hp sent to the rear of a very light, small, low to the ground car by a driver using more than one hand and a toe (or occasional knee) sounds to me what all cars ought to be – driven by people engaged in what they are doing and *gasp* even having fun with it -

        (so long as their fun stays out of the way of my nondescript, top-heavy, 7-quart-using, turn-leaning, smooth-rolling, pothole-thumping, parking space lengthening, low-thrill, but quite comfy 300hp Urban Assault Family Tallwagon. And they dont try to make eye contact with me or wave.)

        Damn i would love a car like this 86.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Despite being small and by some standards underpowered, I find myself much more excited about this car than faster coupes like the GT500. A stripped back drivers car with minimal electronic nannies that is also tuner friendly is a breath of fresh air and a much welcome choice for enthusiasts who are not hedge fund managers. I just hope that Toyota can retail this for around $25K.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      “Despite being small and by some standards underpowered, I find myself much more excited about this car than faster coupes like the GT500″…

      I don’t think I can offer any useful suggestion about your size, but regarding a lack of power perhaps an afternoon nap would help?!

    • 0 avatar
      Norma

      According to AutoExpress, toyota may price it close to GBP30k. Oouch!

  • avatar
    gslippy

    A Camry is just as fast and can carry 5 people. This car just doesn’t get my attention. Leave it to Toyota to make it look as plain as possible.

    I’d much rather have a Genesis Coupe, which has this beat in looks, performance, and price.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      You do realize that you’re comparing a softly sprung family sedan to a sports coupe? If you want the quickest acceleration possible for $30k, get a base Mustang 5.0 for the price of a V6 Camry with a few options.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        Yes. My point is that a 6 second 0-60 is not that great when a Camry V6 can do that. But we keep getting reminded that performance numbers aren’t everything for this car.

      • 0 avatar
        PJ McCombs

        That’s probably similar to the thoughts of Toyota’s marketers, who apparently weren’t happy about this car (ref article).

        But marketers sell numbers and features, not fun–and while Camry V6s, Hyundai Azeras, and Cadillac Escalades will likely put down better 0-60 numbers and feature lists than this car, it doesn’t make them fun to drive.

        IMHO, most cars are now objectively capable enough that their on-paper figures are largely academic. E.g, a 6-second sporty car may accelerate no faster than a 6-second family sedan, but that’s really more capability than you’ll use in 90%+ of driving anyway, so the difference comes down to the subjective responses to your inputs and how much you actually get to feel and control (vs how much is automated, electronically-limited, or insulated out).

        I’ll reserve final judgment until I’ve driven an 86, but in concept, I give Toyota huge credit for actually responding to that minority of enthusiasts that waxes poetic about older, simpler cars like the Miata, Silvia, and AE86. Sure hope the gamble pays off.

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      I’d much rather have a Genesis Coupe, which has this beat in looks, performance, and price.

      Looks are subjective (and really not that different), straight-line performance isn’t the mission of this car and we have absolutely no idea what it will cost yet.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        Regarding price – point taken. I mistook Bertel’s numbers in the article as a reflection of the price.

        However, Hyundai is already on the 2nd generation of the Coupe, and Toyota’s 86 can’t afford to just be on par with it. I just don’t see anything compelling about the 86 that says it’s a better car.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The 2nd gen GenCoupe is still a couple of years away; the “new” GenCoupe that will be hitting the dealer lots early next year is a heavily reworked midcycle refresh.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      The Genesis coupe just isn’t very fun.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        That’s not what the auto publications say.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        The Genesis coupe is fun, but not quite “there”. I’m a big fan of the car, but having driven it finally I didn’t like the shift action or the clutch (I believe that was mentioned in TTAC’s coverage of the car too). Pretty important for a guy like me, as I’ll trade power for feel in a hot second. This cars lower cog seems to imply that it could be a real deal handler, power be damned (and easily added anyway).

        The one limiting factor enthusiast wise would be a lack of turbo on base models. Nowadays that’s where the low hanging (and cheap) power gains are made for enthusiasts. Witness the crazy hp numbers being posted by VW tuners.

    • 0 avatar
      Jason.MZW20

      Wow, that’s the most ignorant comment I’ve read today. I guess that’s the problem Toyota is fighting against. Yes, the Camry *V6* will rocket to 60mph in nearly the same time, but go turn into a twisty canyon road, and you’ll be quickly left behind as the Camry understeers you into opposing traffic. ;) Or take a Camry to an autocross course … lol!

      I get the same comments said about my V6 MR2. “Why didn’t you go with the turbo motor? You could put out way more power … blah blah blah.” Turbo motors don’t have the throttle response I like nor the reliability. No one ever goes to the owner’s club message boards and finds out the issues these high powered turbo cars are experiencing 2-3 (hard) years down the line.

      The on-paper performance of the Genesis coupe is good, but notice that Hyundai had to raise the power output of its mid-cycle refresh Genesis coupe because it’s HEAVY and for some reason or another, it wasn’t as fast as it could’ve been (likely the ECU trying to keep things alive).

      Maybe when Hyundai has some actual racing credentials, I’ll take it seriously. Toyota plans to race the 86, which will only serve to make it an even better car.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Jason.MZW20

        Both of my own cars are naturally aspirated, so I suppose that I don’t disagree too much with your (turbo vs. NA) statement. On the other hand, a modern, small housing turbo is more than capable of delivering linear power. No surging or horse kick required, so long as you aren’t looking for monster boost or power numbers.

        Giving customers a thoughtful, small turbo from the factory also lets that considerable slice of the enthusiast market with money decide for themselves what kind of character they want (that horse kick of torque definitely has its own, and valid, appeal). I can’t bring myself to hate on that urge, especially not when it leaves the car better suited to sell right in the market. Keep in mind that the import performance market that Toyota aims to appeal to is now being dominated by forced induction.

        All this is moot as I’m sure there’s a turbo in the wings.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        I fully understand that a Camry is not built for the twisty canyon road. But if Toyota insists that ‘numbers aren’t everything’, then why is so much made of its 0-60 time?

        I suspect this car will be an eventual disappointment to those who are hoping for a small RWD savior, and Toyota is trying to lower expectations a little. It’s odd to me that they don’t actually mention anyone inside the company who likes the car. Somehow, Toyota fan read this as quaint self-deprecation by the company. The blog-fawning over this car would be very different if GM was the manufacturer.

      • 0 avatar
        Jason.MZW20

        @tedward

        I think you’re forgetting the amount of plumbing necessary for a turbo vehicle.

        1) it needs an intercooler
        2) pipes need to feed the turbo engine oil and another pipe comes from the compressor -> intercooler -> throttle body
        Then you have to keep the damn thing cool, so install a larger radiator with more cooling capacity and maybe a couple engine bay fans.
        On top of that, cast pistons won’t do the job, and neither will the connecting rods. Throw some heavier duty forged units in there. Damn, the connecting rod bolts need changing too. Then, the fuel system needs an overhaul (larger injectors, higher flowing fuel pump, variable rate pressure regulator, etc).

        Oops, we need to uprate the M/T and axles for more torque. Aw man, we need to stop this thing – bigger calipers, rotors.

        At that rate, you’re looking at a minimum of 200lbs, some of which may be in front of the front axle, not behind it.

        Still a good idea?

        (Cost would also be passed on to the consumer)

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        @gslippy

        >>
        I fully understand that a Camry is not built for the twisty canyon road. But if Toyota insists that ‘numbers aren’t everything’, then why is so much made of its 0-60 time?
        <<

        Ahem, it's 0-62, not 0-60. :) Metric is used in Japan and Europe.

        The article only mentioned this spec only once near the end of the article. I don't sense much is being made of the time.

        Since this is an enthusiast site, I suspect there aren't many Toyota fans lurking. It's worth noting that the rest (non-Toyota fans) are willing to give the 86 the benefit of the doubt.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        We have an MR2 and I have been looking at what the options would be when the original motor eventually craps out. I agree with you, the turbo simply isnt worth the issues that can crop up, I want this car to remain fun, tossable, and reliable.

        Did you do the V6 swap yourself? How difficult was it, say compared to the 2ZZ swap? How about things like gas mileage and interior noise? Did you keep the same trans, or go with a 6-sp? Did you notice any issues with weight bias?

      • 0 avatar
        Jason.MZW20

        @mnm4ever

        Depends on which MR2 you have, but any of the Toyota V6s that are tranversely mounted have been put into every generation of MR2. The 3.5L 2GRFE is the current hotrod motor, as it puts down 100whp more than the older 3.0L 1MZFE (276whp vs 176whp, dyno proven). There are a few 2GR Spyders out there and they eat any 2ZZ Spyders alive.

        I have a 1991 MKII with a 2000 1MZ. I did do the swap myself, and the wiring. There are no 6 speeds that can take the torque of the V6s (though the Evora is using a Toyota diesel 6spd modified with a starter mount on the 2GR). One guy tried a C160 from a Celica GTS, and the V6 broke quite a few things in that transaxle. Most use the E153 from the MR2 turbo or 1997-2001 Camry V6 MT (rare). The EB series from the newest tC is probably more robust than the C160, but still weaker than the E153 and EA60 (Evora). But, you’d have to fab up a shifter linkage as no one has used this transaxle.

        As for difficulty, it’s pretty involving, but if you know how to trace wiring diagrams and fab up a few parts, definitely worth it. Weight bias will increase at the rear, but it’s a non-issue. In fact, my car actually feels much more stable, and definitely still tossable without that iron block boat anchor.

        Gas mileage is 27 mpg average (22 city / 34 hwy) with 215hp/220lb-ft and roughly 2680lbs. Noise has been reduced since Toyota’s V6s are less buzzy by design than the 4 cylinders. The engine actually delivers power smoother and goes quiet under light loads. I’m quite fond of it.

        Mine is California smog legal to boot.
        If you need more information, go to http://www.mr2oc.com (register, if you’re not a member), and enter the V6 forum.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @jason… thanks! I will check that out… BTW, I have a Spyder.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Jason.MZW20

        I hear you on weight and cost, and agree wholeheartedly, but I still think it needs a turbo at the lowest price point possible. I mean, I’d buy the NA version, but it seems that the import tuner market revolves around that first $1000 getting you at least 60hp and lb/ft. Cheap car = NA, cheap power = turbo.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Genesis coupe in turbo 4 trim is over 500lbs heavier than the FT-86. I’ll take less power and a light chassis over a piggy… er, pony car any day. If you don’t want a sports car, that is fine. Buy the V6 mustang, camaro, or a variation of the GC. This car isn’t supposed to seat 4 comfortably or happily lug around in 6th gear. It is like complaining that an off-road SUV has poor road manners.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    HACHIROKU!!! YES…
    I’m actually in the market for a “new” to me car..I was looking at e36 M3′s and early E46′s…but maybe I should wait for these to come out? It will be interesting to see how much they cost…$32K? Just expensive enough that I’d have to think about it a little.

    By the way…any car that does 0-60 is no slouch.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      That’s the Japan market price. The US price will undoubtedly be lower (looking at the pricing of the Nissan 370Z in JPY in the home market vs US, this would seem to be the case).

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      I’m speculating it’ll start around $22k. That puts it in line with the turbo-four Genesis, the V6 pony cars and the MX-5. Those are the only other fun, cheap rear-drivers out there. It’ll flop if Toyota prices it against more expensive, more powerful cars.

  • avatar

    Sounds interesting to me. I would consider it.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m posting about 9 hours after this, my first post. This is the first car I’ve really lusted after in a long time. It seems it will have everything I want, including a high fun to drive quotient without sacrificing gas mileage, rwd, simplicity without excess computer control, and it’s the first toyota that has ever looked really stylish to me. My gut is already planning to buy one once it’s been out for a year–this despite the fact that I’m usually a Langian (as in Steve) when I buy cars. And, yes, I will buy it with a stick.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        Agree – For me it’s almost like they took down my wish list of what a new car should be and built it. Now what do I do other than buy it?

        Though I guess it was too much to ask that they’d skip the modern monster wheel fad. 18 inch wheels aren’t well suited to Quebec roads – or to such a light car, for that matter.

        I hope you can downsize them at least a little.

        Update – And I should note I’ve never owned a Toyota and haven’t seriously considered one in many years.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    Commenters, the article writes that it is 0 to *62* mph (100 km/h) in 6 seconds. This translates to 0 to 60 in 5.8 seconds.

    I know this car isn’t entirely about numbers; I’m just being anal. :)

    Anyway, I really like what I see.

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    This may be my next car. A GTI is nice, but it’s wrong wheel drive.

    I was disappointed by the Genesis Coupe. I wanted to like it but wasn’t really impressed by the driving experience.

    This one will at least get a test drive and serious consideration.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    I love my E46 BMW, but this may be the car that eventually replaces it. And I’d happily buy one new and eat the initial depreciation.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I would expect a car like this to hold its value rather well. I doubt depreciation will be much of a problem.

      I’m definitely keeping an eye on this car as well. My only concern is it will be too small/loud for daily driving duties.

  • avatar

    Big-big-big Bummer…. after seeing the concept two years ago. Has that become Toyota’s policy, making people drool over a concept, then come up with a very generic-looking coupe? The original designer must have harakiri’d himself by now I guess. Perhaps something TTAC may wanna look into.

  • avatar
    jco

    this car is a full 600 pounds lighter than even the even the base Genesis coupe. they never set out to make a car with the best numbers. they wanted to make a lightweight, balanced, rwd sports coupe. something simple, without complex electronics; something that the driver can enjoy. personally, i’d rather have a curb weight of 2600lbs with 200hp than a car with 3400lbs and 300hp.

    give me one in white, no spoiler, with a set of Volk wheels.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Superb coverage, Bertel. The best on the net. I spent this morning surfing to find out more about the car, simply because last week, you said Nov 27 was the day for the release. Right again, but I suppose you already had the invite!

    I see the naysayers are out already, you know the ones that think a Camry is better for an enthusiast. Ha, ha, ha. As for any Hyundai/Kia, they have no clue about suspension in all the ones I’ve driven. Not that the Japanese have had much of a clue either, compared to the Germans, except for Mitsubishi. From what I’ve read, between TTAC and C/D, this is the real goods.

    Can’t wait to drive one myself. It’s the GT-86 in Europe, just 86 in Japan. Wonder what soggy name Scion will come up with.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’m very excited for this car. Very very excited.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I’m hoping that customization is possible for years after the sale. I’d be interested in buying a 0 options manual trans model and then slowly buying upgrades.

    • 0 avatar
      jco

      from the looks of it, I am reasonably sure I spotted an interior shot with a radio delete panel, in true JDM fashion. though I don’t see the US getting stripped-out versions. cause even Toyota tried that here, with the Scion tC with the ‘spec package’, which had steel wheels, fixed roof, etc. it had a one -year run i think

      i can’t wait to see what the Subaru version looks like. either way, i see myself in one of these eventually. and if this was even sort of tuned by some of the people who did work on the LFA, then I have high hopes for the chassis tuning.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        I remember an earlier article stating the car would have an auxiliary input but not a CD player/radio, at least in base trim. The idea being that everyone uses a phone or some other digital music player anyway, so why not save some cost and a little weight?

        If you want to add a radio/CD player, it looks like a nice standard double-DIN opening that should allow a straight forward installation.

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    After reading this, I’m thinking I’ll buy it, too.

  • avatar
    michal1980

    need more about your driving impressions. That was way too short.

    That being said. I’m really interested in this car now. I was on the fench before.

  • avatar
    OmarCCXR

    The first mod I’d do to this car would be tint the hideous Lexus-like taillights. The rest of the desing is very appealing and I love reasonably fast, light, responsive cars.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    @carguy- sorry to hear that you are small and underpowered, but I’m sure you have many other fine qualities…
    But seriously, folks, this looks interesting. Can’t wait for a comparo with the Mustang.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    Sounds and looks very promising. I drive an ’07 350Z and an ’81 Fiat X1/9 and I have to say that I agree with the comment re: weight and HP. Light, great handling cars – even without gobs of HP – are more fun than heavier, great handling cars with 300+ HP.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I’ll take a base model (cloth seats) in dark blue, with some aftermarket wheels in a dark finish. I loved, loved, loved driving the S2000 and Miata, but the convertible roof just wasn’t my thing. This sounds like it will deliver what I’ve wanted.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    I really want to hate on any Toyota, but this looks better than anything I’ve seen in almost a decade. Put me on the list of prospective buyers if the base price is below ~$25K.

  • avatar
    carguy67

    re: “To make the car customizable, we did away with computers to the highest extent possible. A lot of the cars on the market today are controlled by computers. …”

    This seems disingenuous. AFAIK, all contemporary cars are ‘controlled by computers,’ including this one. All cars have at least an ECM (ECU, PCM, PCU, whatever) and the rest of the computers control ancillary functions (environment, lighting, etc.). Apparently, they’ve ‘simplified’ the car–and saved some money–by removing some ancillary computers, but they haven’t gone back to carburetors and distributors. These will still be ‘tuned’ by electronic tuners, within narrow parameters else it won’t pass smog. This is a marketing exercise, nothing more.

    Styling is uninspired and awkward, IMO. Reminds me of the Eclipse.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      A previous article (here, I think) said that the car would have half the lines of code as most current Toyotas (50,000 vs. 100,000). Lines of code is a terrible way to measure how things are programmed, but it does say something. Most of it is probably related to the transmission – even MT cars have a lot of code, like when the Civic’s revs hang on the upshift for emissions’ sake, making it impossible to shift smoothly.

  • avatar
    Rob Finfrock

    I don’t think it would be too great an exaggeration to call this “The Most Promising New Toyota in 20 years.” Faint praise, I know.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Well, it took a “Toyota” where Subaru did all the engineering (essentially, it’s a Subie w/ a Toyota/Scion badge); Toyota just did the design work (which is OK, hardly great, unlike the concepts).

  • avatar
    geggamoya

    Was video verboten?

    I really hope this one will be affordable here. The only other 2-liter NA car with similar power and comparable weight i can think of is the Civic Type-R.

    Taxes are based on the price of the car and the CO2 emissions, both cars have (roughly) similar weight and power so if the tax-free price is close, then the final price should too. Which would mean a price of about 30-32k euros, of which about 5-6k euros is CO2-based tax.

    The 86 is lighter than the civic so it should have lower emissions, my only real worry is that the importer decides to only import the top-spec model like Hyundai does with the Genesis Coupe.

    Just for comparisons sake the 3.8 Genesis coupe(turbo not sold here) tax-free is 33,9k euros, + 16k euros tax. STI Impreza is about 45k euros + 22k euros tax. No WRX here anymore.

    • 0 avatar

      No video? Here I play paparazzo with one hand, transcribe tapes with the other, while I steer with my knees and voice-control my cell into uploading megabytes, and you want VIDEO?????

      There were several video teams, and footage should be up on the tubes when the teams sober up. I simply made the fact work for you guys that my mail-order bride’s father has real estate not far from the track, and I had my story written and could soak in en-suite hot springs with the small package UPS had delivered. The rest of the gang was still on the train to Tokyo. I will not edit video in a hot tub. Especially not when a small package is in same.

      • 0 avatar
        acuraandy

        +1 Herr Schmitt. And for the record, the pics that were provided were very good. And agreed, editing vid clips in a hot tub would not be a good idea :)

      • 0 avatar
        geggamoya

        You could have filmed your insane multitasking skills… ;) In all seriousness this is great coverage and i’m not complaining, just wondering as when i posted that i could not find video anywhere. Now the tubes are alive with the sight of videos!

        So did you decide to drive the auto or manual? I would actually be more interested in how well the auto works.

  • avatar

    first interesting new car in a long time. too bad but i’m not in a part of my life where this would work for me. otherwise, give me leather seats, sunroof and delete all the other options. can’t wait to see the subie version.

  • avatar
    Seminole 95

    I agree about tinting the tail lights. Is there an after market product to do this?

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Looks good! I would picture myself driving that car. I miss my JI Impulse and that would be the nearest thing in spirit.

    The only part I don’t like much is the back end, it looks a bit plain. Needs a nice spoiler, which I guess is already in the accessories section of the catalog.

    I guess the exhaust sound was similar to the “burble” that can be heard on modified WRXs. I like that sound. And since the aftermarket for Subaru engines is not exactly small it’ll be a matter of months before we see modified ones with 2X or 3X the power.

    Now, who’s going to take it and and paint the Panda Trueno livery to deliver some tofu. Actually it would be awesome if Toyota did that for the launch, putting an AE86 side by side.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    A big difference between this car and the concept car I saw is that the hood has been raised. The show car was sexy with plunging metal from the fenders. It looks like the car we’ll get has been made to conform with pedestrian safety standards that force a minimal gap between the engine and the sheet metal. Scourge pedestrians.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I like it. But I would expect US sales to be on par with the mythical (much beloved but never purchased) diesel manual transmission station wagon. If it breaks 30,000 units per year, I’d be surprised.

    Fortunately, it’s not a make-or-break car for TMC, and it doesn’t have to be a monster hit here in order for it to make sense. If some of the engineering approach ends up in the other cars, then the exercise will have been worthwhile.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      I’m sure you’re right that this won’t be a huge volume car in the US, but Toyota was becoming such a bland old-person’s company they really needed to reintroduce something like this. They did pretty well with Celicas and Supras in the past.

      Hyundai has sold 30K Genesis in a year – I think Toyota will do a little better than that. It’s certainly still a niche car in the grand scheme of things for Toyota, though.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Hyundai has sold 30K Genesis in a year

        Those figures include both the sedan and the coupe.

        And I disagree with all of these references to the Genesis as being a close comparable. As far as I can tell, the closest competitors are the Honda Civic Si and the VW GTI. If the Integra was still around, then I would move that to the top of the list.

        I don’t know what percentage of Civics sold in the US are Si models, but I would bet that total Si sales are well below 30,000. So far this year, GTI sales have been under 15,000. I think that my 30,000 figure would be optimistic.

        Also, I think that branding it as a Scion is a mistake. The logical brand and nameplate for this would be the Toyota Celica. I doubt that a Scion “86″ would do anything for Toyota’s reputation with the younger crowd.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Toyota is looking for 24K in yearly sales.

        Will depend on how they price it.

  • avatar
    ghillie

    “That opportunity that was immediately turned into hoonery by a rough and tumble contingent from Australia. One of them drove the car with so much enthusiasm that it spun out , did a few twirls and had a near-miss with an Australian cohort.”

    Australians have form at this sort of thing…….

    It was somewhere up the country in a land of rock and scrub,
    That they formed an institution called the Geebung Polo Club.
    They were long and wiry natives of the rugged mountainside,
    And the horse was never saddled that the Geebungs couldn’t ride;
    But their style of playing polo was irregular and rash -
    They had mighty little science, but a mighty lot of dash:
    And they played on mountain ponies that were muscular and strong,
    Though their coats were quite unpolished, and their manes and tails were long.
    And they used to train those ponies wheeling cattle in the scrub:
    They were demons, were the members of the Geebung Polo Club.

    The Geebung Polo Club – by Banjo Patterson

  • avatar
    tedward

    Definitely not a Toyota fan here, but I’ll be damned if the new CEO isn’t doing his best to change my mind. I love the concept of this car, and like others have said, am a potential customer at the sub $25k price point. Seriously, it’s time for a Toyota rethink pretty soon. The new Camry doesn’t suck even if it isn’t best in class (I was impressed at least), the Prius V finally makes sense as a vehicle to me and then this wet dream of a sports coupe comes along. I find myself rooting, if not yet for the brand, than at least for this guys political presence within it.

  • avatar

    To those who are complaining about the rear end, it actually looks really good in toyotas GT 86 driving scenes video that was released.

    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJwwUQU_GZw&feature=related)

  • avatar
    Hildy Johnson

    In some phases of the development. he said: “If that is the best you can do, why not quit now.”

    Must be getting soft, those Japanese. I thought the standard sentence for first offence was harakiri.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    If half the swooners here actually bought the car, Toyota has nothing to worry about. But I really doubt that will happen unless this car is exceptional.

  • avatar
    Boff

    That’s one ugly little bugger of a car. The greenhouse looks like it was raised and rounded to accommodate someone wearing a stetson. Oh, well…my interest in this car has waned as estimates of weight and price have creeped up. At least the concepts looked sensational.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Not a stetson, but a helmet, yes. I think you don’t realize exactly how small this car is. The greenhouse looks like that because it actually has to fit people. Stare at an NC Miata with the roof up for a while and the shape will make more sense.

  • avatar
    rwb

    This is a car I would trade a practical 4-door FWD car to have.

    If it’s well priced, and used car values keep up for the next couple years…

  • avatar
    RGS920

    The fist thing I would do (here in the US) is take off the Scion badges and rebadge this as a Toyota 86 and try and bring it as close to the JDM style as possible.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Honda/Acura NEEDS a car like this. ‘Bread and butter’, tuneable, quick, well handling, good looking, and most importantly, AFFORDABLE.

    I think the Hyundai Genesis has just met it’s match; and furthermore, I think Toyota may have just saved it’s own ass.

    My prediction is we will soon see many of these on the road here in the States.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Honda could have won serious points with the CRZ but instead they chose to make it yet another failed hybrid attempt. I doubt there is any more clueless top-tier auto maker in the world right now.

  • avatar
    nophone

    I personally hope that it is $26k+, just to keep it out of the hands of dumb teenagers.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    @Bertel-Fortune Cookie- “A small package of value will come to you shortly” ?

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    “Tada …had to convince a board that was fixated on numbers.”

    Now Toyota will need to convince a public that is fixated on numbers that the GT86 is a viable competitor- particularly the American public.

    I fear a Japanese “Galapagos” mentality in this car.

    This car will have a uphill prospect of winning hearts and minds of Mustang and Camaro owners. If anything this car will reinforce the “ricer” derogatory sterotypes- light weight with great handling, but ‘underpowered’. The goal of this car is to create a positive image to the staid Toyota image. I’m not sure it can achieve that in US market.

    Pricing is going to be key- a hard task with the high yen. If this car can be in the low-$20ks rather than the mid-$20ks it might have some room for success. Otherwise I fear the conversation tilting towards why don’t I just buy a “Mustang/Camaro/Gensis” with more power (even if those cars weigh 700lb+ more).

    While I’m still skeptical of the prospects of this car I do think its true enthusiast’s car. It hits the key points; low-weight, low-center of gravity boxer engine, RWD, high-revving, sounds good, and modifications are actually encouraged. But Toyota’s board and marketers may have been right about this car’s prospects- I hope I’m wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      Yes, you’re wrong. I believe that there is a considerable market that would consider this that would not consider a Camaro or Mustang.
      I ask myself these questions:
      Is it light? Is it efficient? Does it fit in my garage? Which is more fun to zip around town in?
      None of the pony cars pass this. The Miata is a fine competitor except that there is no 3rd and 4th seat.
      Whether there are enough of us fans who will actually buy the car new is the question that I can’t answer.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I believe that there is a considerable market that would consider this that would not consider a Camaro or Mustang.

        In the US, that is highly unlikely.

        The most similar car to this in the US was the Acura Integra/ RSX. That car was discontinued worldwide. At the time that it was cancelled, the RSX was selling 20-25,000 units per year in the US, a pretty low figure by US standards. Mustang and Camaro retail sales both easily best that.

        Over the last 20+ years, there has been a substantial shift in demand in the US from cars to trucks, SUVs and CUVs. The market for coupes is limited and smaller than it once was.

        Cars like this are a bit of a throwback. This could have been a huge seller in the 80′s, but today, not so much.

      • 0 avatar

        @PCH101 And yet, Toyota thought their new hatchback (sorry, LIFTback) wouldn’t sell worth beans on it’s own so they rolled it into their Yaris lineup as a 3-door model.

        I saw dealership after dealership with $3k rebates on the sedan, true to your words of folks flocking away from normal cars.

        Yet I had to wait three MONTHS for my Liftback to arrive in August of ’07, and cheerfully payed MSRP despite getting strange looks racking up suspension upgrades, cruise control, and a leather steering wheel but insisting on non-power windows and a stick-shift.

        I’m about to tick over 100k before this year is up now. The last car I had as much fun romping around in as my Yaris LB was tied between my ’87 Civic and ’87 Corolla FX16.

        This car is one on my test-drive list like few others have been since I got rid of my ’87 (dunno what it is/was about that model year… also still have an ’87 Jeep Comanche) 944 because I got sick and tired of dealing with engine issues and didn’t want to spend the coin to do a proper LS1 upgrade to resolve them properly.

    • 0 avatar

      Given the enthusiasm for this car on this site–I’m one of the people who is seriously considering buying one–I think it may do much better than you think. It sounds like it will have everything I want, including seating for four. I will use it as a daily driver.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Given the enthusiasm for this car on this site–I’m one of the people who is seriously considering buying one–I think it may do much better than you think.

        If you used the comments section of this website as a gauge for the car market, then American highways would be crawling with shiny new Crown Vics, diesel station wagons (with manual transmissions, of course) and more than a few Saabs, with hardly a Camry to be seen.

        Car enthusiasts talk, but money walks. The volume coupe market in the US has largely evaporated. Prelude, Celica, Supra, RX-7, Integra, 200SX/240SX, MR-2, Fox/MN-12 era T-birds, Buick Grand National…all gone. Only the pony cars have survived this largely unscathed.

        My hope is that Toyota accepts this for what it is — as a halo and an engineering exercise — and keeps building and refining it, even if it is a commercial failure. The lessons learned from it could filter into other cars that do make them money, so the effort isn’t for naught.

      • 0 avatar
        Aqua225

        I agree with Pch101, this car has no future, and to be sure of it, it has been mostly blessed by the normal percentage of the TTAC intelligentsia that normally bless really oddball cars that will more than likely (or already have…) ended in failure, or barely sustainable and quite dismal sales.

        Wimpy 2-door coupes will not sell. 6s to sixty, a very important number to teenagers with not-so-well-blessed-with-common-sense-parents, even if it could be ratcheted down to 5.5, is still pretty lame compared to Korean & domestic V6 muscle. And while the car may be a road racer’s wet dream, I seriously doubt it will ship at a “young” price tag, as per usual Toyota economics on small projects like this one.

        Then, mix in the fact that is two doors and has a seriously undersized backseat, the car, I predict, will be still born.

        If it had been a hot 5-door hatch or a 4-door sedan, then they could probably sell shiploads of them every month.

        Someone mentioned under a previous post of mine that there may be a lexus 4-door version. That would sell, probably more than any small lexus before it of the rear drive variety (I am not talking about the lexified camry, etc.).

  • avatar
    niky

    The only comparison I am interested in is the MX-5… though a 6 second 0-62 time indicates it’ll be much quicker in a straight line, the big question is whether it’s as much fun in a wiggly one.

    The Genesis Coupe is just no comparison to cars like this. It’s fun, but it’s not the sharpest tool in the shed… Too soft, too wooly and just not keen enough to satisfy that urge, A good car, especially with that wonderful V6, but it’s more of a GT than a pure sports car.

  • avatar
    word is bond

    What the hell are those massive wheel wells?
    looks like you could fit carriage wheels in there

  • avatar
    Pleiades

    It is too bad that Toyota didn’t stick to it’s “sharper” exterior design cues displayed on the FT-86 prototype (see the article featured on this site). One look at this version (especially the headlights and the entire rear end), and all I have to say is “That is a nice Subaru!” ^_^

  • avatar
    wmba

    Came back to this thread to read the newer comments and saw this:

    “86 Comments on “Finally: TTAC Gets Its Hands On The FT86. And Its Chief Engineer…””

    Coincidence? Seriously, I do think that the availability of the Subaru diesel 2 litre block, with its bore and stroke of 86mm by 86mm is why Toyota chose those dimensions for the new Subaru FA engine in this car. The regular FB in the new Impreza is 84 by 90 mm for the same displacement. Not sure of corporate Japan’s belief in “omens”, but what the hey, the new FB engine is a bit of a long-stroke chuffer. Four mm may not seem like much, but engine width in a flat engine can be a problem. That can lead to connecting rods that are really too short compared to the ideal. So every little stroke reduction can help.

    Whether this car succeeds or not, my interest concerns two things, steering feel and the feel of the suspension. For decades, I’ve thought that if Japan Inc could get the art of suspension design correct, they’d take over the world. But they flub it every time. So this one had finally better get it right.

    All anyone who is somewhat aware has to do is to drive a VW or BMW, and whether it’s a sport version or a comfy sedan, they all exhibit a certain feel, a certain rightness. My friend’s TDI wagon makes the suspension in my Legacy GT seem primitive. But after 5 Audis, I just got fed up with repairs, and compromised with the Subaru.

    I am fully aware that the aftermarket can supply endless quantities of upgraded suspension parts. I don’t care. I expect the car to be good in stock condition, as delivered. Why shouldn’t I? Few people who buy a German car and take it home immediately wonder what aftermarket suspension pieces are available. Buy a “performance” Japanese car, and provided you’re not a turbo crazed demon, suspension mods come to mind at once. An Infiniti G37 is no BMW, not even close when it comes to suspension. The new Focus is very good, however, so that’s a bonus for the US.

    Likewise, steering feel is a problem with these new electric powered racks. Honda’s feel like wood to me – essentially horrible. These systems are tunable fifty ways to Sunday, but most cars seem to have steering feel that could only come from reading as far as page 2 in the 100 page manual from the supplier. Poor effort in the development phase. Too much time on USB input and phone connectivity for the darn stereo.

    So this car for me will be a winner only if the steering and suspension are great from stock. As for tuning a naturally aspirated engine for more power in the aftermarket, good luck with that. 100 hp per litre is pretty high as is. So the car must be about balance and finesse, as it’s no great beauty. No other reason to buy one except how it drives. And whether it has that “feel” will be obvious in the first couple of miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Morea

      Will this car have power steering? If so, why?!?

    • 0 avatar
      jco

      what I find interesting is that those are two things that the Honda S2000, in original 1999-2002 AP1 form got so right. the steering feel was razor sharp, and it was easy to put that car right where you wanted it. and the suspension, though stiff, was so neutral that they ended up tuning in some understeer for the later models as people complained about how easy it was to spin. it was exactly what you’d expect in roadster.

      and i do agree with your assessment. the first time I drove a 330i, it was perfect. but what i won’t put up with it the German way of over-engineered complexity. I believe that the Japanese can engineer just as well, but prefer a simple, minimal approach when suitable. this keeps costs down as well as simplifies repairs and maintenance.

  • avatar
    John R

    I wonder. If this sells well it might not be too long before we see Mazda produce a strictly hardtop Miata.

    BTW, can’t wait for a garage to drop an STi motor in this.

  • avatar
    skor

    There’s no market for sports coupes in the US. The demographic that would be interested in this type of car can’t afford one….or any new car for that matter. The demographic that can afford one, is now to old/fat to get into a car of this type.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Someone can ask his fat dad to pay for the car.

    • 0 avatar
      smokingclutch

      I’m 30, interested, and in a position to buy a car of this type. I have a 2010 Challenger R/T and would love to have a small sports car like this join it in the garage.

      Contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of us out there working and with good jobs. But we are too busy to get on TV like those Occupy folks.

      The biggest impediment for me is whether my wife manages to convince me to buy her a Fiat 500 Abarth instead. I will have her drive both before she decides, at least.

      What I would really like is a new RX-7 – a car this size with the RX-8′s 238 hp Wankel is exactly what I am looking for, though they can keep the rear seats. Fuel economy be damned – if you can afford to spend 25k on a new car, you can afford to put gas in it, unless you drive 50,000 miles per year. I loved my RX-8, and only sold it because I was trying to slim the fleet.

  • avatar
    missinginvlissingen

    “When we first presented this idea to our advertising people, they… could not think of a catchy headline for the catalogue.”

    Apparently the geniuses who came up with “It’s a Car!” for the Yaris are completely out of ideas. I’m shocked.

  • avatar
    Fivespeeed

    There are so many problems with the logic surrounding this car.

    “Built with weekend racers in mind.”
    “Cost will be in line with a University graduate’s salary.”
    “We want this car to be approachable.”
    “We want this car to appeal to the enthusiast.”

    So which is it? Is this an enthusiast car, or an ‘out of the box’ sports car for the masses?

    It’s neither, really.

    They had a great opportunity to make the next Supra, which would compete with the 370Z, and on some level, Detroit neo-muscle. They blew it.

    “A car like this doesn’t exist on the market.” MazdaSpeed3, GTI, Genesis, and Civic Si, to name a few. In the future, Jeremy Clarkson will say, “This is a schtooopid car.” I agree.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    A Toyota… designed with PASSION!

    I may own one of these some day.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    There’s my next car, asssuming the out the door price is around $40K or so *. Good thing my Celica has lasted the 10+ years it took to get here.

    * the price of the cheapest car on my short list – mid-range Mustang or Genesis 3.8GT.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I think numbers are a problem for this car. If it can’t say its faster, has a better time at X track, more horse power, better 0-60, it will be a tough sell. Many people here have said how they don’t think that the Regal GS is good enough without even driving it. Why, because they think it is heavy, and too slow 0-60.

    Why get this car over a Mustang/Genesis/Camaro right now?

    • 0 avatar
      MR2turbo4evr

      I don’t get why people compare this car to a V6 Mustang or a crappy Hyundai. Have you looked at the dimension specs at all? This car is waaayyy smaller. If anything, it should be compared to a Miata (size, weight, engine size, etc.). And 0-60 in about 6 seconds is a lot faster than what a Miata does.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I’m soooooooooo frigin bummed out. I’m 52, got a kid going to college next year, then after she’s out I have a 1 year breather before the next one goes. Ya’ll, I’ll be 61-62 before I could even think about buying a cool little car like this. Either I should have started the family thing sooner or hooked up with that gal that couldn’t have kids back in ’89, oh well, you makes yo choices and you live with them!

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I hear you. I have two in college now, and eventually weddings to pay for. I sometimes wonder if I will ever get a fun toy again…

      • 0 avatar
        smokingclutch

        Or tell your kids to pay for their own weddings. They’ll be less likely to want to blow tens of thousands of dollars on them.

        My wife and I paid for my own. Had 70 guests in our backyard, plenty of food and top shelf booze. Used a iPod on shuffle hooked to a nice Bose stereo instead of a DJ. Including food, booze, tents, tables and chairs, total cost was under $3,000.

        It can be done, if you stand up to spoiled children who wish to be princess for a day.

        Alternatively, if you want to give your kids $30,000, give it to them for a house down payment. Tell them it is either for a home, or you’re taking it and buying a sports car for Daddy.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Or buy some Microsoft stock back in ’89.

  • avatar
    sti2m3

    I kept thinking to myself everybody who wants more horsepower…umm…this thing doesn’t have any computers to correct your mistakes? A light sports car that can handle (meaning twitchy) and you want more hp?
    I think the only reason this car won’t sell is because too many idiots would crash initially because people nowadays (including me) can’t drive without all of the computers keeping us on the road…especially when it rains/snows.

    • 0 avatar
      Aqua225

      I have owned detroit muscle, both front and rear drive, without the computers managing my traction (only the fuel delivery and turbo boost), and I could handle them pretty well during take off in the rain, in any direction. And two of those cars would have left this thing in their dust…

      I guess w/stability control, they aren’t teaching this in drivers ed anymore? Sad….

  • avatar
    needsdecaf

    I wish I was in the market for this type of car, but with two kids, it just ain’t happening.

    The reason I say that, though, is the last time I can recall this type of singular focus, damn the committees, design parameters driven by a select few, the world was introduced to what was then the greatest supercar of all time (and still may be): the MacLaren F1.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    “30 to 40 years ago, there was an AE86, and the price of this car was 1.5 million yen. At the time, that was the starting salary was for a university graduate. We kept that in mind when we priced the car….The starting salary of a university graduate in Japan is around 2.5 million yen. In today’s undervalued dollars, this would be around $32,000. ”

    This part I find interesting.

    2.5 million is exactly where Honda is pricing the CRZ in Japan.

    http://www.honda.co.jp/CR-Z/webcatalog/type/index.html

    The 370Z by comparison starts at around 3.6 million yen. Yes, in dollar terms that 2.5 million yen is $32k, but in the US the CRZ starts $19,545.

    If Toyota is really planning on pricing this GT86 in terms of what is described, at around 2.5mil yen, and they follow Honda in translating that pricing to just below or around $20k for the GT86 in the US.

    I eat my words and retract my negativity above, the car will be a massive success. Pricing is so crucial to the perception of this car.

    • 0 avatar
      geggamoya

      CR-Z starts at 19.974 euros here, + 19,2% tax based on CO2 emissions which are 117g/km. Assuming the same tax-free price, and CO2 emissions of 215g/km* then the tax would be 31,1%, total 26185 euros. Very unlikely that the base model will be imported to Finland though, unfortunately. high-spec model + tax and it will end up at 35-40k euros.

      *Civic Type-R is 215g/km, only other NA 200hp engine i could think of, both have a bore x stroke of 86x86mm, Honda has lower compression at 11.00:1. The toyota weighs about 100kg less and is more aerodynamic so CO2 emissions might be somewhere around 190-200/km.

      No wait the Clio Renault Sport is also 200hp 2.0liter NA, that one weighs 1204kg so about the same as the 86 and CO2 emissions are 195g/km. Copression ratio is lower than the 86 but higher than the civic at 11.50:1, bore x stroke is 82.7 X 93mm.

      Neither of those cars have DI like the 86, that and the better aerodynamics should improve mileage a bit so my guess is about 180-190grams of CO2/km which means 26,8-28,1 % tax.

      Anyone know the CO2 emissions? Most of the data is in japanese.

      • 0 avatar
        protomech

        CO2 emissions are directly proportional to mpg.

        g CO2/km = 2.32 g/L / mpg / (1.6 km/mi) * (3.8 L/ga)

        Basically, to get g CO2/km you divide 5.51 by mpg.

        Supposing the car gets 30 mpg = 183 g CO2/km.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    This may well be my next car. A test drive and actual price will be the determining factors, but I really am liking what I’m hearing.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I’m looking forward to this car – one not designed by a committee of bean counters and marketing hacks who like to advertise #s. A car designed to have a soul from the factory and one that will communicate with the driver to make them better rather than a big engine and computers almost at times driving the car making a terrible driver seem fast.

    Good for Toyota to have a CEO who remembers what “driving” a car is like and not creating another transportation appliance. Also seems Toyoda-san has also been visited by the ghost of Honda-san.

  • avatar
    JMII

    It really sounds like Toyota did its homework on this car. However I couldn’t wait any longer and bough an older 350Z. A few years from now I might consider the FT86 after the tuners have stuffed a turbo into it. The Genesis is also on my future might-own list. Shame Toyota didn’t go the Scion Tc route and make it a hatchback that looks like a coupe.

    Now the idea of making a car easier for tuners means you are selling a car to someone who is immediately going to put another $2-7K in parts on it. Thus it has to have a very low base price to catch on in the market. I hope this car catches on, but its launching in difficult times and against a new batch of V6 pony cars that while heavy post so very impressive times and mpgs.

  • avatar
    ringomon

    Bertel- really pedantic question here, if the Japanese name is “hachiroku” should the English name be the “eight-six”?

    Just wondering as that would be the literal translation, not “eighty six”. Have you heard any of the Toyota officials say it in English?

    (Sort of reminds me of when Chad “Ocho-cinco” changed his name to 8-5 to kind of match his jersey number.)

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Japanese alphabet (hiragana and katakana) is phonetic and the numbering is different than English. Hachiroku = 86 as in eighty six.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      For wholly unselfish reasons I eagerly await the outcome of this debate.

      • 0 avatar
        ringomon

        Carlismo (and myself) are correct.
        Hachi-roku is literally 8-6.
        Eighty-six would be hachi-zyuu-roku.
        In Japanese: eight-six= 八六
               Eighty-six=八十六
        (I did that just to show off and prove that I know what I’m talking about.)
        It’s quite possible Toyota expects it to be called the “Eighty-six” yet call it the “hachi-roku” in Japanese just because it’s snappier. That’s why I asked Bertel if any of the Toyota people verbalized it in English.

      • 0 avatar

        No real linguistic thought process involved here, I would say. Rather, they simply decided to call it like that as a direct nod to how the old AE86 is called by enthusiasts in Japan: “hachi-roku”. Just like the Skyline GT-Rs are referred as Ar-san-ni, Ar-san-san, Ar-san-yon, Ar-san-go. I am not a linguist, so I could not explain why it became the hachi-roku and not hachi-juu-roku instead. Because it’s easier to say ? Just like the 911 is referred as nine-eleven and not nine-one-one or nine hundred eleven.

        Changing the subject, there were signs of an ongoing metamorphosis of Akio Toyoda during this event. He was looking taller than his usual timid self, clearly beaming with pride and self-confidence. Dare I say you could detect some hint of charisma starting to appear ? This car is his first real public mark on the company, and it showed in his demeanor. However, I think he has gone overboard with his new race suit now marked “AKIO TOYODA” in big letters in the back, between shiny shoulder pads. He shouldn’t hang out too much with the Camry Nascar guys, it is starting to rub off…

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        ringomon – you are right – completely lost track of counting that high in Nihongo (since I haven’t studied it in 10+ years). It would be hachi jyuu roku = 86 or eighty six and not eight six.

    • 0 avatar
      t3h_clap

      If the english translation of Initial D is anything to go by they say 8-6. They don’t say eighty-six.

      “Have you heard about the Akina eight-six?”
      “Itsuki bought an eight-five instead of an eight-six AHAHAHAHAHA”

      Also the Wiki articles about Initial D refer to it as an eight-six as well.

  • avatar
    zone

    Nice review; good article. I like what I see and can’t wait to read a real road test from TTAC. Why do readers have to compare everything to something else? Maybe it’s just human nature…….. For me, I want a reliable, 240Zish, every day driver that has some style, performance, and interior space – and I don’t want a BMW or Audi or retro 60s muscle car. This may be it. I’ll wait until my Subaru dealer or Scion dealer has one that I can test drive and price-out before I make any decisions. And yeah, I’m not buying a first year model no matter how in love I am – I’ll let the manufacturer iron out the little problems of the first or second year before I commit.

  • avatar
    ward

    This is IT. This is the car I’ve been looking for. I don’t want a million hp gas guzzler. I want something that handles great, that I can mess with on the weekends and is SIMPLE. I sure hope this thing isn’t super expensive because I would love to buy it. I don’t fit in a miata or any other “tiny” sports car(My height is always the problem…6’6″)and I do so despise pigs in sports car clothing(ahem, mustang, et al), so I’m hoping I will in this one. To everyone who’s complaining about HP already(before you’ve even seen a car in person, or tested it)! Don’t you remember that there is a 300hp subaru option, and if that isn’t enough, didn’t Tada say in a previous article that an STI engine would drop right in?? Personally 200hp is enough for me… I like cornering better. I can’t wait for this to come out!

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      I would suggest any 6’6″er to choose a Miata instead.

      • 0 avatar
        ward

        Then you must not be 6’6″ because unless I take a sawzall to the windshield header, I’d be driving that thing totally blind. Every time I get in one those I’m so disappointed that I can’t even take it for a test drive! I’m hoping this car will have a seating position a bit lower down so i’m not staring through the visor when driving it but who knows, I haven’t found a true sports car that fits me unless I go to 60s British cars with a fold down windshield or of course the 944.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    The second generation Toyota Supra, which hit dealer showrooms in the US in late 1982, weighed 3,000 pounds and it’s 2.8 liter engine put out 175 hp at the crank. It’s benchmark was the Porsche 944.

    We’ve come a long way! This new Toyscionbaru is very interesting, and really the question I’m wondering about is “How big with the market adjustment be?”

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    @Bertel- I know that fortune cookies are Chinese, and that you were in Japan. It was a reference to the title of a Jefferson Airplane song, (which sounded like a fortune cookie message to me). I was trying to understand the ‘contents of the package in the hot tub’ part, which went right over my head. Among other things.

  • avatar
    ringomon

    Geggamoya (and myself) are correct.
    Hachi-roku is literally 8-6.
    Eighty-six would be hachi-zyuu-roku.
    In Japanese: eight-six= 八六
           Eighty-six=八十六
    (I did that just to show off and prove that I know what I’m talking about.)
    It’s quite possible Toyota expects it to be called the “Eighty-six” yet call it the “hachi-roku” in Japanese just because it’s snappier. That’s why I asked Bertel if any of the Toyota people verbalized it in English.

  • avatar
    geggamoya

    Thanks for the formula, but i don’t know the fuel consumption either.. ;)

    edit: was meant as a reply to protomech

  • avatar
    Robert Fahey

    “Drove very nicely.”

    Elaborate, Bertel. Did it feel like a Miata with more punch? That’s what I’m hoping.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    “When we first presented this idea to our advertising people, they were drastically opposed to this idea. They complained that the car doesn’t have a particularly fast time on the circuit, it does not use any new technology. They also could not think of a catchy headline for the catalogue”

    I guess the marketing morons never heard of power-to-weight ratio?

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Doggone it. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this car. Complain all you want about how it’s styling is boring and watered down from the concept (I think its tastefully understated and reminds me a bit of the last Supra) or how a Mustang V6 has 100 more horsepower (I had a Mustang. I don’t want a Mustang. It was a junky pig.), but I love it. There’s really nothing else on the market right now that directly compares, unless you want to settle for a bloated pony car, a “chick car” MX-5 or a front drive Si or GTI.

    I’m over the whole big-horsepower thing. I love compact dimensions, low cowl height and good visibility. I’d honestly prefer FWD/AWD for drivability’s sake here in the Midwest (I’ve actually been toying with the idea of a new tC or maybe an Imprezza…go figure), but it’s hard to argue with a proper dash-to-axle distance and near 50-50 weight distribution.

    If this thing starts in the low 20s and can do over 30 MPG on the highway, I’m sold. I’ll even take it with radio delete and plastic hubcaps. I don’t even care if it doesn’t live up to the hype. If nothing else, its an honest, back-to-basics little sporty car that beats the heck out of whatever lameass econosedan or pretentious, high-maintenance Eurosnobmobile I’d eventually end up buying at the same price point.

  • avatar
    Aqua225

    IMO, this car is a dead car rolling if they don’t make a sedan version.

    If they made a sedan version, I’d be a potential buyer and so would many others.

    2-door cars are more expensive to make, and just looking on average at even the enthusiast market, 4-doors appears to be “here to stay”. 2-door cars are also generally impractical, unless you are as thin as a stell cable, and about 5’8″ or less. Unless you never park them in parking lot, or never have other cars park beside you, that is. If you never have to park in a squeezed spot or get squeezed by later parking public, 2-doors are great.

    I’ve loved all my two door cars (3 performance coupes), but convenient they weren’t, even when I was younger and not nearly as “robust” as I am now :)

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      http://www.ft86club.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=2910&d=1322426625

      Yes, 2 more doors will make this back seat soooo much more practical! ;)

      Supposedly the next Lexus IS will be built on a longer wheelbase version of this platform. That will surely be a sedan much like the current model, but I’m sure the back seats will be just as dreadfully tight like they are in the current IS.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I haven’t even driven this thing (duh!), but if you’re correct, and “built on” means keeping the Lexus IS almost as low as this, I can almost guarantee that will be the end of the BMW 3ers reign as the compact sedan handling champ.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      “IMO, this car is a dead car rolling if they don’t make a sedan version.”

      Toyota does make a fine sedan called “Camry”.

      • 0 avatar
        Aqua225

        Camry isn’t rear drive or built to handle… it’s a staid appliance level machine, like an Impala, but not as big.

        Pass on Camry for enthusiastic driving.

        Most of the US will pass on rwd coupe as well. They’ll just hand down their camrys to their kids (and kids will take in both shame and thanks, as such things go), and buy new Camrys.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Its funny… if someone releases a performance sedan, you see a bunch of comments from people who wont consider it unless it comes as a coupe. Now here is a sporty coupe, and here are the comments about how it needs to be a sedan.

      Do you realize how tiny this would be as a sedan?? They would have to make it larger, and heavier, to make it a usable sedan. This obviously isnt intended to be your family car, its supposed to be the sports car… basically like a Miata, but with a back seat. Either young people with no kids, or older people who’s kids can ride in the minivan most of the time are the target buyers here.

      And 2-door cars are not more expensive to make, there are two less doors… duh. And they are not impractical to open the doors and park if they are not HUGE like a Mustang, I never have any trouble opening the doors in my MR2. I also dont park it in crappy parking spots… I dont want to risk some idiot parking so close to me that I cannot open my door. And if you are a bigger person, a 2-door car’s openings are larger than a 4-door car, so therefore easier to get into.

      If you want a rear drive sedan, there are plenty… BMW, Infiniti, and Lexus all make cars for you. This is a lighter smaller simpler sports car for the rest of us.

  • avatar
    alluster

    Really like the looks, especially the side. You guys do realize that this car is no superior than the Kappa twins, Solstice and Sky which were out more than five years ago!! They weighed less than 2900 pounds, 0-60 in mere 5.5 Seconds, had 260 HP and 260 lb·ft torque for the 2.0L engine. Then there was the Turbo upgrade kit with a whopping 290 hp, 340 lb·ft(MT), 325 lb·ft(AT).

    Toyota could have saved all the r&d money and just bought the platforms and engines from GM, throw a six speed in it and call it a day. That said, kudos to Toyota if they can keep the price in the 25K’s range especially with the yen at loss making levels. WSJ says they lose about $5 Billion a year in their home market with exports and overseas operations making up for it. The strong yen is now killing profits on exports too.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203733504577025523618197732.html

    picturepush.com/photo/a/7065547/img/7065547.jpg

    For comparison the similar Sky Red Line started at 29,500$ in 2006. In today’s money that’s about 32,000$. Hopefully if this succeeds, which it might because of no competition, GM may bring back the Kappa as a Buick. The Solstice and Sky sold 100,000 units in 4 years, one of them, 2009, which was the worst year for auto sales, not to mention Pontiac and Saturn were killed in July.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIncognito

      Dude, you’re killing me, the $ goes in FRONT of the number, as in $32,000. That’s enough to push it out of the price range Toyota was shooting for. It also was 2950 lbs with a MT, so you’re paying $7-9k more for 0.5 seconds off the 0-60 time, which isn’t a great tradeoff.

      The problem with the Solstice/sky is that there was no trunk. At all. Going to the grocery store with a passenger was not possible. There’s a hollowed-out U-Shape where the roof would go for you to stuff things into with the roof up, but it really couldn’t be a person’s primary car. The nail in the coffin was that it still wasn’t as fun to drive as the Miata.

      • 0 avatar
        alluster

        @MrIncognito – I was actually praising Toyota for pricing this in the mid 20K range, the strong yen not withstanding, considering a similar powered Saturn Sky cost around $7K-$9K more.

        The “86″ I’m sure is more fuel efficient and more advanced with tech goodies, Touch Screen, LED’s, 6 Spd Transmission etc compared to the Sky or Solstice. It better be being 6 years newer.

  • avatar
    alluster

    The 24000 a year sales target is too pessimistic imo. Toyota is probably going to price it out of reach if they are estimating such low numbers. But again Toyota has been burnt before WRT annual sales targets. 200,000 Tundras, 75000 Venzas, 24000 Sequoia’s, 22000 HS250h anyone? Will there be a Toyota model in the future? This car will probably sell twice as many, branded as a Toyota rather than as a Scion.

  • avatar
    alluster

    HP numbers mean squat wrt to pricing. A 270HP Regal costs 35,000$ while a 300 HP Imapala only costs 25000$.

  • avatar
    DasFast

    A message to Toyota:

    If you’re proud that the 86 wasn’t developed by a committee or consensus, you should also be ashamed that the designer of the stunning concept wasn’t consulted on the production version. Well, at least it appears that way.
    Thank you so much for making good use of the development time to kill every interesting line the concept showed off to great effect.
    In a way that seems to be exclusive to Japanese companies, you’ve made the car look cheap by softening every crisp line of the original. The sixth generation Celica was equally uninspired. In case you’re taking notes, the pontoon like rear fenders you’re so fond of look as ridiculous on this car as they do on the Tacoma; only Bentley seems to be able to pull it off. As for the mess at the rear, it warrants a complete rethink.
    What a shame, this is a car I’ve been anticipating for a long time. Perhaps the people at Subaru showed up for work and will get my money instead.
    If you crib anything from Kia’s current playbook, pay someone with a great sense of style a lot of money to make your lineup of suppositories exciting.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Out of curiosity, which concept are you talking about? The 2009 FT-86 I, 2011 FT-86 II, 2011 Scion FR-S, or 2011 Subaru BRZ concept-sti?

      I think the production version looks better than all of them short of the FR-S concept, but we all know that one was so over the top it would never reach production with those huge fenders, wheels, and rear air dam. The only thing I really dislike are the factory wheels. I like something with a thicker 6 or 7 spoke generally.

      • 0 avatar
        DasFast

        Almost everything interesting and exciting about the original concept has been lost (running gear excepted):

        -By not installing a pyrotechnic hood, they lost the dramatic plunge to it, and made a mess of the A pillar/hood/door intersection. A pop up hood should not have been too expensive to implement if an affordable car like the iQ can come equipped with 10 standard interior air bags. A lost opportunity to pull off a unique, almost 911 like line of sight…
        -The crisp door line that carried through the handle and was the foundation of the rear lights and spoiler have been replaced by a “me too” fender vent, and a line that has nowhere to go. It now terminates in a porthole like piece of glass that appears to be half black paint and only half transparent.
        -Subaru must have designed the two inch flat lip surrounding both wheel openings as that is one of their current obsessions. By folding the lower sill into the rear flare surface, it looks like the 86 is wearing a cheap body kit.
        -The complete rear of the car is a fail. The tail lights are no longer integral to the design and droop pathetically, are Altezza style in 2012 (really?), and have no hope of helping to resolve a mess of incongruous lines and surfaces.
        -How is the rear air dam of the original so over the top, when the production version appears to be just as large and complex but proportioned differently?
        -The Fast and Furious rear wing should do everything to help attract that particular demographic.

        There was nothing over the top at all about the original concept other than a fabric dashboard, see through A pillars, and outrageous, affecting lines. The huge fender flares you refer to are now larger than before, and are not even sized to correctly contain stock rubber. As the tire sits closer to the top of the opening than on the sides, larger wheels and tires and/or a drop in ride height will only accentuate the problem.
        In the way that Toyota does famously, the whole look of the car has been cheapened and made less likely to offend. The last generation Supra and sixth Celica are perfect examples.

        What a shame, the original had all the makings of a superstar. As the production version goes, it will have to be a love affair based on personality…
        I look forward to Robert Cumberford’s critique.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I don’t have a problem with the power to weight ratio of this car. If it doesn’t appeal to wannabe street racers because it doesn’t aspire to life a quarter mile at a time, all the better. That means that they won’t be getting balled up nightly by children, which means that insurance rates won’t be stratospheric and they won’t become jokes amoung educated adults. I’ll also be able to get a year of track days out of a set of R-compounds instead of a session, as is common with the cars magazine enthusiasts day dream about. There are very few new cars that appeal to me. This looks to be one of them, although I’ll wait for some details about the Subaru aspects of the engine. At least is has the only direct injection system that I would consider, the one with redundant port injection to keep the valves clean.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Outside of the FT86 and its Subaru twin, kudos to someone who can name another front engine, rear wheel drive car with a boxer engine. Using the internet is cheating. One would think between Porsche and Subaru there has to be some.

  • avatar
    prj3ctm4yh3m

    Driver’s Car??

    I wasn’t aware that driver’s cars (japanese at least) had macpherson struts. Very disappointing Toyota.

    Hyundais come with mac struts. The CELICA did not. S2000s did not.

    RWD notwithstanding, this is regression that merely looks appealing because of the dearth of viable options on the market–Reminds me of the music industry. Mumford & Sons… pffft.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Porsche and BMW use struts, and the Celica did too. There is nothing inherently wrong with struts, as long as they system is well designed. Sure we would all like a proper double wishbone setup, but it isn’t going to happen at this price point.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      There was a recent piston slap about wishbones vs macpherson struts that you might be interested in. Check it out if you missed it: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/piston-slap-strut-yo-stuff-or-make-a-wish/

  • avatar
    BlackDynamiteOnline

    0-62mph (100km/h) in 6.0
    Which mean 0-60 in 5.9

    Thanks for the article, very informative

    But Subaru has already released pricing information on their version
    $24k for the base “Premium” model, which comes with NAV standard (Why would you have NAV standard on the base car?”
    $27k for the “Limited” verison

    Expect Toyota’s Scion version to be slightly less, with 3 less HP (197), and no standard NAV
    I expect a price of just under $23k
    BD

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I will believe the BRZ includes NAV on the base model when I see it on Subaru’s website. Considering reducing cost and weight were high priorities for this car, including a NAV on the base model is inexplicable.

  • avatar
    maxwell_2

    This car does nothing for me, actually looks like a Tiburon. It will be a collector soon, Toyota nor Subie have ever had sports car to stuck around very long.

  • avatar
    gingineer

    Man, slap in an STi EJ257 engine and I’d die of happiness… as long as I could keep my Impreza for rallycross, of course.

    Really though if this goes for below $25k I think it’s a winner. I love how people keep rediscovering the beauty of a light car.

  • avatar
    R.A. Gregorio

    I’m waiting for the four-door version. That’ll be more practical than this two-door. Basically, it would be what I’ve been looking for in a car – a simple and affordable RWD sports sedan that puts the pleasure back to what driving a car was 10 to 20 years ago. That was before automobiles became either commoditized appliances or over-weighted quarter-mile racers. I just want to feel like I’m driving again instead of being driven.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I think a sedan would be preferable as well. As much as I like the idea of this car, in the back of my mind I know it probably won’t work as a daily driver. I would love to see them stretch the platform into a roughly focus-sized sedan. I haven’t heard of Toyota/Subaru planning anything like that though.

      • 0 avatar
        yaymx5

        I see what you mean–it would be nice to have a RWD compact/subcompact sedan for $20-25k that is a true driver’s car.

        However, in order to have a decent amount of legroom for four passengers in a compact sedan, it’s pretty much necessary to have an upright seating position. This gives requires a taller roofline and typically a higher center of gravity. If you want to maximize the interior space for front passengers, it makes sense to have a transversely-mounted engine. If you have a transversely-mounted engine, it makes sense to have FWD, which also improves the amount of space for rear seat passengers. In making these changes, we’ve just turned an FT86 into a Honda Fit. (Not that the Fit is bad car–it’s one of the best of its breed, but its handling isn’t on par with an FT86.)

        For ~$25k, Subaru’s own WRX may be the best compromise among handling, performance, and utility.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually, the Japanese press is talking about a sedan down the line since quite a long time. The storyline is that Toyota was not convinced that the market for a coupe would be able to recoup the development cost alone and therefore a sedan, in the lines of the much loved Altezza (the japanese name of the first gen of the Lexus IS), would be a good idea. Mockups for a sedan come up from time to time in the scoop pages of the various publications. We will see. Most recently, stories about an open top version are also popping up.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Good to hear they are thinking about it. I basically want a mainstream, reliable brand to make the functional equivalent of a BMW E46 or E39. FR layout with available manual transmission in a practical package. I can easily give up the leather interior, power seats, moonroof, etc. Lower running costs would be much appreciated too.

    I think something based on the FR-S/BRZ would fit that bill. Too bad I think it would have a tough time selling.


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