As­porty beast un­der the skin

The Subaru STi seems to be play­ing a role in FT-86 tests, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

THERE is a very good rea­son why this car looks like a sliced-and-diced Subaru STi. It’s a test mule for the up­com­ing Subaru ver­sion of the shared FT-86 sports car be­ing de­vel­oped by Toy­ota.

The out­ra­geous body bits are sup­posed to dis­guise the car un­der­neath, but in­stead — par­tic­u­larly be­cause of the rear wing — they point di­rectly to the Subaru con­nec­tion.

It’s some of the most bizarre cam­ou­flage to hit the road in re­cent years, but there is al­ready a change from ear­lier test cars — a bon­net with a ma­jor bump.

This could point to a top­mounted in­ter­cooler, some­thing com­mon on tur­bocharged Subaru en­gines, but there are also signs of a front-mounted cooler in the test car.

So the bump points to this be­ing a Subaru me­chan­i­cal test car run­ning the en­gine and trans­mis­sion from the Im­preza STi.

Carparazzi sources say the FT-86 project uses a mod­i­fied Subaru Lib­erty chas­sis with some Im­preza parts, but with rear-wheel drive only. It has two-plus-two seat­ing in the cabin and fully in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion.

Some sources say the car will be ready by the end of next year, at least as a Toy­ota.

But there are also ru­mours it will not be ready for the road un­til the back end of 2012.

Even so, there is ev­ery chance of FT-86 ap­pear­ances on the in­ter­na­tional mo­tor show cir­cuit, wear­ing both Toy­ota and Subaru badges, next year.

For a full gallery of spy shots, visit www.cars­guide.com.au

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