After what seemed like a decade or more asleep at the wheel, Toyota made a grand return to the world of legitimately interesting fast cars with the Lexus LFA. But the limited-edition supercar is already sold out--and prohibitively expensive. Toyota's attainable sports car, the long-discussed joint project with Subaru code-named FT-86, on the other hand, has been rumored to be stuck between reality and redesign for months now. But hope isn't lost yet, as a new report claims the car is still coming, and "on schedule," even.
We've never really doubted the FT-86 would come to market--at least not since Toyota U.S. president Jim Lentz confirmed the car for U.S. sale. Doubly so since Subaru appears determined to forge ahead with the project no matter what Toyota is doing. But the rumors of the project's delay persisted.
The planned release date is still November 2011, according to the latest from 7Tune. The information is said to be derived from an interview with the project manager and group manager of Toyota's sports vehicle division. According to the report, the car is about 50 percent complete--far less than we'd have expected given the concept shown in Tokyo last year and the spy shots we've already seen of the car (or its sister Subaru project) in development.
A quick refresher on the FT-86: built as a joint project with Subaru, the car is a rear-drive, roughly 3,000-pound, 200-horsepower, flat-four-powered coupe. Subaru is also thought to be working on a turbocharged "STI" version of the car, but no word of a similar high-performance variant has come from Toyota.
Pricing was also touched on in the report, with the Japanese-market price pegged at about 2.5 million yen, or around $29,000. That's higher than the projected range for the American FT-86, but foreign-market pricing doesn't always translate well, so the low-to-mid $20,000-range may still be possible.
At the end of the day, though, we'll just have to wait and see if Toyota really does manage to make a return to its sporting heritage in the mainstream retail market. With memories of the AE86, rear-drive Celica and Supra still rattling around in our heads, we're hoping it does.