Toyota FT 86 Concept Front Three Quarter
This unlikely coupe, borne out of the on-again, off-again, on-again relationship between Toyota and Subaru, nearly got axed twice. In April 2008, former Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe first announced the joint development project with Subaru in which both companies would build a sports car based on the same platform. Since that date, the economic downturn led to two cooling off periods in which the destiny of the project hung in the balance. But enough momentum remained to push it into the 'can do' basket, and the fact that the Toyota-Subaru design team already had a significant springboard in the form of a Subaru platform and engine helped build the case to keep it alive.
Drawing definite design hints from the FT-HS hybrid sports concept seen at the 2007 Detroit show, the sharp, edgy exterior injects more than a little emotion into the Toyota product mix, something the company's lineup has been crying out for since the MR-S (MR-2) coupe disappeared two years ago.
A source close to Toyota tells us that while the FT-86's exterior design is sourced from Toyota Europe Design in France, two other prototypes also exist, one penned by head office in Toyota City and the other created by Calty Design Research in California. "Build quality is very high, and it may already look ready for the road, but don't be surprised if the exterior changes, because this car is not finished, not by a long way," our source says.
Toyota FT 86 Concept Passenger Side Front Three Quarter
The name FT-86, which won't be the car's final name, harks back to the immensely popular Corolla AE-86 rear-drive coupe of the 80s, a car in which the famous Drift King -- Japanese racing legend Keiichi Tsuchiya -- started his career, while FT stands for 'Future Toyota.' And you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see the FT-86's potential to ignite a whole new generation of drifters.
Toyota FT 86 Concept Rear Three Quarter
In a speech to media in Tokyo on October 1, new Toyota CEO and Nurburgring 24-hour race driver Akio Toyoda enthusiastically explained that the company plans to put greater effort from now on into building 'more emotional cars' and that the FT-86, and Lexus LFA on a more extreme scale, are just the first in a long line. In justifying his racing efforts at the world's most grueling race track, Toyoda said "It is important for management like me to drive our cars not only on public roads, but also in competition to fully understand where our engineers are coming from." He went on to say that he is not racing for the sake of racing, but rather testing cars like the LFA and IS F on road surfaces in competitive environments that push a car's chassis and suspension to the limits.
While specifications for this concept coupe are still sketchy, our source says that the FT-86 employs a shortened version of the Subaru Legacy platform and will be powered by a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine from the Impreza lineup but with a reworked Toyota head that should generate around 200 hp. It will also incorporate a six-speed Aisin-built manual gearbox. The FT-86 is also expected to inherit the front MacPherson strut, and rear double wishbone setup from the Legacy, but with strategic modifications to allow for the switch from 4WD to rear-wheel-drive. According to reports, the concept is roughly 164 in. long, 69 in. wide and 50 in. in height, with a 101-in. wheelbase.
What is strange however is the conspicuous absence of any reference from Subaru to their version of the car given that it sits on significant Subaru hardware. One industry commentator tells us that Subaru did not want to take any of the limelight away from Toyota's FT-86 unveiling, and will wait until a later date to reveal its prototype, perhaps at a show in Europe next year. If you want to check out some serious Toyota hardware on a Subaru, just look at the Hybrid Tourer concept with those gullwing doors. It's using a very familiar THSII hybrid system, a la Toyota.
LOW CARBON CONCEPTS
In the latest sign of a marginal recovery in car demand, Toyota might have raised its global sales forecast for the year by three percent to 6.7 million cars, but in Japan at least, the only cars selling on any scale are hybrids. Order a Prius today in Tokyo, and you won't pick it up until next spring. And the just-launched Lexus HS250h received over 10,000 orders last month, shocking company bosses and dealers who were expecting around 500 units a month to pass through Japan's showrooms.
Toyota Prius Plug In Concept
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid...
Toyota Prius Plug In Concept
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept
This is a signal that the market wants more vehicles with a low carbon footprint, just the kind of cars Toyota will reveal at the Tokyo Motor Show starting on October 21 at the Makuhari Messe site just outside the city.
A first for Japan, but first seen at the Frankfurt Motor Show last month is the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept (PHV). This car is based on the third-generation Prius but uses first-generation lithium-ion battery technology developed by Panasonic. Its 98-horsepower 1.8-liter gasoline engine, with 105 pound-feet of torque, is paired with an electric motor that makes 84 hp and 153 lb-ft of torque. The plug-in is intended to have a 13-mile cruising range and the ability to cruise at highway speeds on pure electrical power. The lithium-ion battery setup is targeted to recharge in three hours at 100 volts and 100 minutes on 200 volts. Toyota says the Prius Plug-In concept will emit less than 42 g/km of CO2 and boast mileage of 155 mpg, something the industry will want to check out when 500 test vehicles are rolled out around the world later this year.
Following the wave of electric vehicles (EV) sprouting up at motor shows recently, Toyota will also unveil the FT-EV II at Tokyo. Smaller than an iQ, but still seating four passengers (at a squeeze!), this pure electric car employs lithium-ion batteries and a full by-wire drive system that can reach a top speed of 62 mph and cover 55 miles on one charge.
MORE ON THE FT-EV II FROM TOYOTA
The FT-EV II is a compact EV designed for short distances, and it is based on the idea of a future mobility society in which EVs are common, and means of transport are divided according to purpose, the characteristics of the energy to be used and the status of the supply infrastructure. The FT-EV II features a high-quality package extremely convenient in urban settings.
* Ultra-efficient package with body more compact than ultra-compact "iQ", but still with seating for four
* Drive-by-wire technology enables joystick operation of all functions including accelerator, brakes and steering wheel; ample legroom provided by elimination of accelerator and brake pedals
* Vehicle designed with low front cowl and auxiliary window below windshield for outstanding forward visibility; further consideration paid to safety around vehicle led to see-through LED rear combination taillights
* Electric sliding doors on both sides facilitate ingress and egress, particularly in narrow spaces
* Top-speed of over 100km/h
* Easy coverage of over 90km on fully charged battery—ample for everyday use
* Extremely quiet and comfortable ride with smooth acceleration, thanks to TMC-cultivated motor-control technology, which is part of the hybrid system at core of TMC's environmental technologies
|Toyota FT-86 Concept|
Toyota FT-86 Concept
Toyota FT-86 Concept
Toyota FT-86 Concept