DIANA T. KURYLKO

Toyota FT-86 convertible falls short

Automotive News | March 5, 2013 - 5:16 pm EST

Diana T. Kurylko covers various U.S. import brands for Automotive News
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GENEVA -- Toyota Motor Corp.'s FT-86 convertible concept had some skeptics pondering if this was the way to go.

They included engineers from Subaru which developed Toyota's production GT86 coupe, as well as Subaru's version -- the BRZ -- and the Scion FR-S.

Only the latter two models are sold in the United States.

All three models developed by the two Japanese partners have rear-wheel drive and are powered by a Subaru Boxer engine.

There have been rumors about an open-top variant since the three cars went on sale last year. Subaru's answer has always been maybe, perhaps and we're considering it.

At the Geneva auto show, Subaru executives got their first look at the FT-86 open concept. The car has a cloth roof, and Toyota says the concept retains "2+2 seating format with minimal impact on luggage capacity."

It left Subaru engineers scratching their heads. They believe the convertible concept eats away precious rear seat room because of the space needed to hide the roof mechanism.

They wondered: Why not just make a two seat roadster?

How would Subaru do it? They'd create a convertible on a stretched wheelbase by adding about 4 inches so rear seat room wouldn't be compromised.

That's "if we were to do it," Subaru executives said at the Geneva show.

Yes, they have their own convertible under study, but it's not ready for display.

If you lift the cloth on the FT-86 convertible you don't see much in the way of working mechanicals.

Toyota says it built the car to gauge consumer reaction ,and initial press reports laud the car.

In this case, it's like the Wizard of Oz: You have to look behind the curtain to get the real story. And this concept only has room for children in the rear.

Toyota's FT-86 open concept has a cloth roof, and Toyota says the concept retains "2+2 seating format with minimal impact on luggage capacity."

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