Tak­ing on the world

Toy­ota sees a big­ger fu­ture for its youth car, writes Peter Lyon

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

THERE is more to Toy­ota’s youth-driven FT-86 project than first thought. The born-again Sprinter is def­i­nitely a coupe and now there will be a four-door sedan.

Even though sedans are not pop­u­lar in Ja­pan — ex­cept the Lexus IS200 and the Toy­ota Al­tezza — Toy­ota can see se­ri­ous po­ten­tial in a global car based on the FT-86.

Loyal Al­tezza cus­tomers are one rea­son the sedan has been given the go-ahead, ac­cord­ing to a source close to Toy­ota. It also helps that the ba­sics are easy to tweak for four-door work.

In truth, us­ing the FT-86 plat­form for a sports sedan is in­surance to cover any short­fall in FT86 sales. At the same time, it makes the most of the rear-drive plat­form.

One Ja­panese com­men­ta­tor goes as far as to say the sports sedan project is there in case the FT-86 fails so Toy­ota does not have to can­cel the project al­to­gether.

The sedan will not only in­cor­po­rate the FT86’s Subaru Lib­erty-based me­chan­i­cal pack- age, but it will also get the 150kW boxer en­gine and six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion (or CVT) from the Im­preza.

The car is ex­pected to fall into a seg­ment be­tween the BMW 1-Se­ries and 3-Se­ries, in­clud­ing the Audi A3 and the Golf GTI, so the Ja­panese sticker price should be close to $30,000.

Be­cause more power might be re­quired down the line, Toy­ota can bring the Subaru Out­back’s 3.6-litre H6 en­gine into the equa­tion. But by the time the new sports sedan — not to men­tion the FT-86 coupe— makes it to show­rooms in 2013, Subaru will have its own in-house hy­brid boxer en­gine.

This will cre­ate yet an­other pow­er­train op­por­tu­nity for Toy­ota and a pack­age that should be more ex­cit­ing to drive than Toy­ota’s cur­rent hy­brids.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.