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Redesigned FT-86 II Addresses Drivers' Complaints

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On: Mon, Mar 14, 2011 at 4:52PM | By: Chris Weiss

Redesigned FT-86 II Addresses Drivers' Complaints

Earlier this month in Geneva, we saw what Toyota refers to as the "clearest indication yet as to the final design of Toyota's next sports car," a second iteration of the FT-86 sports coupe developed with the help of Subaru. While it was quite clear that the FT-86 II had gotten some significant modifications from the original FT-86, a concept launched a year and a half ago at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, it wasn't exactly clear why those design changes were instituted.

In a conversation with Autocar, Toyota design manager Akihiro Nagaya explained that the changes were made to improve driving dynamics. They were a direct result of driver feedback.

Toyota solicited feedback from test drivers in reworking the FT-86. Nagaya explains: "We had feedback from drivers who felt that the angle of the A-pillars created a type of ‘tunnel vision’. This could sometimes make the car hard to place on the road, particularly at higher speeds. The theory behind this car remains that of the ‘86’ [the original Corolla AE-86], which was easy and pure to drive, so we had to change it."

As such, Toyota pushed the A-pillars back, creating a more upright windshield that offers better visibility to drivers.

One of the most noticeable differences between the two FT-86 models is the redesigned front end. Toyota lifted the nose of the concept to adhere to pedestrian impact regulations, and also added LED lights on either side of the bumper and redesigned headlights.

Though it may be the "clearest indication yet" as to the final design, Nagaya estimated that it is only 50 to 70 percent congruous with the planned production model, so expect more changes when the final version debuts in Tokyo later this year. He said that the production version will look a lot like Subaru's production model.

The Toyota FT-86 will feature a 2.0-liter Subaru Boxer four-cylinder driving its rear wheels with the help of a six-speed manual transmission. Final output figures remain unspecified.


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