Toyota’s much anticipated sports car in well over a decade is in its final stages of testing and fine tuning. Although not officially signed off, we finally got our hands on some of the car’s vital statistics.
According to insiders, the FT-86 II revealed at last month’s Geneva Motor Show is 95 percent production ready – accurate in its surfacing, although don’t expect its 20-inch ‘show wheels’ to make it to production.
The FT is built on a lightweight monocoque structure. It is 4235mm long, similar to Toyota’s popular Corolla hatch, has a wheelbase of 2570mm and is only 1270mm high to keep its centre of gravity down.
Toyota hasn’t been forthcoming with the FT’s kerb weight. However, some sources suggest that it will undercut the Volkswagen Scirocco by 200kg. If that is true, the car will weigh in at an impressive 1100kg!
The car’s engine also deviate from Toyota’s norm, with a 2.0-litre flat four from Subaru but with some modification to suit the FT-86. This endows the car with a lower centre of gravity compared to a normal in-line 4 engine. Traction is further aided by a standard limited-slip differential. A 6-speed manual gearbox drives the rear wheels with a 6-speed paddle-shift auto as an option.
Toyota engineers quoted initial engine power to be around 149kW. However, final power and torque are likely to be higher as the engine will employ Toyota’s direct injection system with the company’s own engine management. Toyota’s engine partner, Yamaha is also said to be working on the engine to deliver better fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emission.
The base model is said to accelerate from 0-100km/h in around 7 seconds and have a top speed of 225km/h, but speculation is rife that Toyota might offer lower final drive ratios for range topping models. There are already rumours of ‘kitted’ cars with 201kW on tap.
The interior of the concept will however unlikely to make it to production, but designers say the sense of their design – a driver focused cockpit with only the essentials for driving – will be seen in production.
Being a lightweight sportscar, the FT-86 will come with occasional seats in the rear, good for carrying children or the odd adult for short trips. Emphasis is being placed on the driver’s seat. Toyota’s President, Mr. Toyoda believes great driving starts with a comfortable seating position, and he knows, as he is the first Toyota boss to have raced around Germany’s legendary Nürburgring race circuit.
The FT will ride on MacPherson struts up front and coil-sprung multi-link suspension at the rear, with anti-roll bars at both ends. Toyota bosses have however specified that suspension parts, especially dampers are constructed of more sophisticated and expensive components usually found on more expensive cars. The brakes are more conventional with discs all round. Standard wheels size are said to be 18-inch, steered by an all electric power steering system.
Ride and handling are being tuned by Toyota’s European based engineers. Toyota wanted a set-up to suit world markets and will adopt a European setting for its chassis stability system, which includes a Sport mode to allow enthusiastic drivers to slide the car within limits, without intervention.