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Toyota FT-86 Open Concept Debut

There's not much "concept" to this drop-top Scion FR-S

Toyota Research Click to hide

What's New

What all needs to be said? What you're looking at will soon come to the U.S. as the Scion FR-S convertible. Overseas, the FR-S is sold as the Toyota GT86, an homage to the rear-wheel-drive Toyota AE86 Corolla of the 1980s that's become a fixture of the sport of drifting. And the concept version is called FT-86 Open--"FT" standing for "future Toyota," of course.

Besides some concept car touches to sweeten the deal, this car will be coming stateside in the near future to compete against the Ford Mustang convertible and Mazda MX-5 Miata, the car's closest natural competitor. Seeing as how the concept is equipped, however, this car might be more of a Toyota Solara replacement than an all-out sports car.

Who It's For

The Scion FR-S is one of the best cheap thrills cars sold today, typically selling to 20- and 30somethings who've watched way too much Initial D. Or, as I like to put it, it's a Miata for guys. With white perforated leather, mustard yellow carpets, and equipped with the Scion/Toyota's optional six-speed automatic transmission, we have a feeling the Toyota FT-86 Open concept is aimed at attracting a greater audience of women. With few exceptions, no one is going to take a convertible to a racetrack; the FT-86 Open is definitely more of a coastline cruiser.

Key Features

Otherwise standard fare Scion FR-S, the Toyota FT-86 Open concept comes with a few unique features, including:
  • Obviously, that power soft top. Or so we think. We've not yet seen the car with the top up.
  • The "86" opposed-cylinder badge protruding from the dashboard, now acts as a cell phone holder. That'd become an airbag-deployed missile in an accident. Not for production.
  • The hugely upgraded interior materials. Just look at it.

What We Think

With the top down, the FT-86 Open looks a little like a poor man's Maserati GranTurismo. That's not exactly a bad thing. With the same 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter flat-4 as the standard Scion FR-S, it's not exactly going to be setting the world alight, though, taking about 7 seconds to hit 60 mph from standstill with the automatic transmission.

This is a softer, gentler sports car, one that will compete with the Mazda Miata for those who want the wind-in-the-hair sensation. Toyota says it kept the FT-86 "weight-neutral," not adding too much heft over the 2,800-pound FR-S.

We can't imagine this will be quite the canyon-carver of the Miata, but it's not going to be a slouch, either. If you want the boy-racer drift car, stick with the coupe. The convertible is the warm-weather special for seeing and being seen.

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