Toyota FT-86: First Official Photos of Near-Production RWD Sports Coupe, gets Subaru's 2.0-Liter Boxer Engine

Fans of the long-gone Supra, MR2 and even the Celica may rejoice; as we tipped you off a few hours ago, Toyota has just released the first official photos of the FT-86, a near-production concept model of its Subaru co-developed rear-wheel drive coupe that will make its world debut at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. The production version of the 2+2 seater sports coupe, whose conceptual name harks back to the popular RWD Corolla AE86 of the mid-1980s, is due to go on sale towards the end of 2011.

"The FT-86 Concept is neither an electric vehicle nor a hybrid vehicle, but is a sports model with a gasoline engine developed to convey the essential appeal of automobiles in a new era. It is a must-see concept car that expresses TMC's desire to once again create a Toyota sports car," the Japanese automaker said in a release published on its official site.

The compact-sized coupe is powered by a front-mounted, 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine sourced from Subaru that drives the rear wheels. Official details are still scarce, but our sources tell us that Toyota opted to equip the concept model with a naturally-aspirated version of Subaru's 2.0-liter flat flour that produces 150HP in the Impreza.

However, it is most likely that the Japanese automaker has tweaked the engine to crank out a few more ponies boosting output closer to 200 horsepower.

It's worth noting that in Japan, Subaru also offers a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer with 250HP that powers the Impreza S-GT that we all know as the WRX in most markets.

It's still too early to know which powertrains will be available on the production version of the FT-86, but Subaru's 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engines (depending on the market) in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged forms would have to be the most serious candidates.

The coupe is quite compact in dimensions measuring 4,160mm (163.7-in.) in length, 1,760mm (69.3-in.) in width, and 1,260mm (49.6-in.) in height with a wheelbase of 2,570mm (101.2-in.).

The FT-86 Concept was penned at Toyota's European Design Development ED2 studio that's located in Nice, France. The exterior design, which obviously won't change much when it reaches production in 2011, is clearly inspired by Toyota's FT-HS hybrid concept that was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in 2007. And yes, we must admit that our first take is very positive.

Needless to say that the FT-86's interior styling is far too conceptual for production, but it does provide a hint or two (no more though...) at the design direction Toyota is taking with the production model.

As we've already said before, the FT-86 will also spawn a Subaru version that will share the same underpinnings and mechanical hardware but according to the two Japanese automakers, will feature its own distinct styling. Hopefully, Subaru's "design team" won't disappoint us this time...