When was the last time Toyota produced a car enthusiasts could get excited about? Keep thinking, it’s been a while. The company that once challenged US muscle cars with its 300-horsepower Supra could be back in relatively sporty trim by 2011. Toyota released images this week of a show car called the FT-86 concept, a rear-wheel-drive coupe recalling the Toyota AE86 of the 1980s, best known in the US as the Corolla. Yes, that was back when the Corolla was a kind of poor-man’s sports car.
A product of Toyota’s ED2 styling studio in France, the FT-86 concept recalls the earlier, hybrid-powered FT-HS concept shown at the Detroit Auto Show in 2007. This version doesn’t get the hybrid, but it does get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine — whose pistons are positioned horizontally instead of vertically — from Subaru, of which Toyota is part owner. The FT-86 will debut at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, with a production model reportedly set go on sale in late 2011. The Associated Press reports it will cost about 3 million yen ($33,700).