The Toyota GT-86, otherwise known as the Scion FR-S or the Subaru BRZ, was easily one of the most successful Japanese cars from 2012. In its short time on the market, the youthful coupe has received nothing but praise for its highly responsive driving, luxurious interior design and fluid exterior styling. Jointly developed by Toyota and Subaru, the coupe has been an out of the park success.
But, ever since its inception – even before it made it to production – prospective drivers have begged for a convertible version of the GT-86. There are very few roadsters on the market, and even fewer well-liked ones. A drop-top GT-86 would contend primarily with the Mazda Miata as the only other respectable vehicle in its class.
In answer to the automotive community’s desperate pleas, last month Toyota previewed a Toyota FT-86 Open concept, top-down. In short, it looked amazing. A white color scheme with navy blue and gold accents made the car look clean and breathable, fitting to a convertible. And it should look good, since Toyota admits that the coupe was originally developed and designed with a possible convertible version in mind. Even still, the Japanese automaker insisted that the FT-86 Open was only shown to test the waters, and that much more work needed to be done before a production model would be possible.
To be fair, designing and engineering a convertible is very difficult. There are many more variables that go into the work of producing a convertible than a normal hard-top car. Trunk space is an issue. Rear seat space is an issue. Chassis rigidity is an issue. Safety is an issue. And of course, maintaining fluid exterior styling is the biggest issue of all. This is all amplified by the extremely high expectations that the public would have for the FT-86. So, original design intentions not withstanding, there’s a mountain of problems to address before a convertible GT-86/FR-S/BRZ can safely be brought to market.
Nonetheless, it appears that the FT-86 Open may be closer to production than we’d dared hope. Earlier this week, the folks over at Car & Driver scooped up some patent application images of the Toyota FT-86 Open concept with the top folded up. This is the first time we’ve seen the top up, and I have to say that it was definitely worth the wait. Just look at how smoothly the folding roof blends into the exterior lines that define the GT-86’s design. It looks very similar to the coupe, with exactly the right proportions. Flawless.
As far as how the FT-86 will perform, we still don’t know very much. Obviously, these are just patent images, so no one’s had the pleasure of driving one yet. Still, Toyota originally claimed that they’d compensate the loss of rigidity that comes naturally without a roof with a firmer chassis and suspension, so our expectations are high for how this FT-86 will drive.
Either way, for now I think we can all be happy just seeing this car in its full form for the first time. The Toyota FT-86 is looking stellar, and I personally can’t wait to see this car in the metal at a future auto show, hopefully later this year.
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Source: Car and Driverleave a response, trackback from your own site