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Toyota FT-86 Open Concept Previews Likely Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ Convertible

3/5/2013
Toyota says it created the FT-86 Open Concept "to gauge reaction to possible development of a cabriolet version of the GT86 sports coupe." The GT86 is known in the United States as the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ.

The FT-86 Open Concept employs a soft folding top, which Toyota says allows the company to retain 2+2 seating and the majority of the vehicle's trunk space. The multi-layered fabric roof includes a glass rear window, and while Toyota has not announced whether it is manually-operated or power-operated, given that automaker would strive to make the convertible weight-neutral, compared to the GT86 Coupe, manual operation is likely.

Toyota acknowledges that the GT86 was designed with a convertible in mind, and that the impact of removing the roof on structural rigidity "should not be great." Nevertheless, the company says it continues to assess issues around body rigidity, vehicle balance, vehicle weight, and aerodynamics. Toyota does expect a production version of the FT-86 Open Concept to boast an even lower center of gravity than the coupe, which is already lower than many higher priced sports cars.

Toyota Boshoku Milan Design did the FT-86 Open Concept's design, with white paint, a blue roof, and white perforated leather upholstery over navy blue backing. Exposed stitching is rendered in golden yellow.

Under the show-car treatment, the FT-86 sits on the same platform and employs the same mechanicals as the GT86. That means it has a Subaru-sourced, direct-injection, 2.0-liter, Boxer-style 4-cylinder engine generating 200 horsepower. A choice between a 6-speed manual gearbox and a 6-speed automatic transmission would be offered if the vehicle went into production, according to Toyota, the latter offering "the world's fastest" paddle shifters, which can change gears in just .2 of a second. Additional hardware highlights include electric steering with a 13.1:1 ratio, 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes, MacPherson strut front suspension, and a double-wishbone rear suspension.

It should be noted that there is no confirmation that "FT" stands for "folding top." As for gauging reaction, perhaps Toyota should be looking at the faces of Alfa Romeo and Mazda executives as they determine how such a vehicle might impact their joint development of a new lightweight roadster set to replace the MX-5 Miata and to wear an undetermined Alfa nameplate.

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