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Geneva show: Toyota teases 86 convertible

Top’s off: This sketch is all Toyota has revealed of its 86 convertible concept, which will take a bow at the Geneva motor show in March.

Long-awaited convertible Toyota 86 to break cover as a concept in Geneva

Toyota logo1 Feb 2013

By MIKE COSTELLO

TOYOTA will gauge customer reaction to an open-topped version of its hugely popular 86 with the reveal of a concept convertible variant at the Geneva motor show in March.

According to Toyota, the FT-86 Open concept is a “sneak preview of a possible future variant” of the 86 coupe, although the company admits that by the time the car is revealed, it will already be assessing prototype versions.

Few details have been released, although the Japanese car-maker has published a teaser sketch of the prospective four-seater cabriolet, featuring similar lines and proportions to the compact coupe.

Mechanical details are being kept a secret, but the lightweight rear-drive coupe versions are powered by a 147kW/205Nm 2.0-litre Boxer engine matched to six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

The reveal of the long-expected convertible comes more than three years after the original compact coupe concept that birthed the 86 at the 2009 Tokyo motor show.

The announcement of a possible convertible is timely, with sales of the base coupe variant slowing in Japan. An open-topped version could re-ignite the range and return interest levels to where they were last year.

8 center imageLeft: Toyota 86 Subaru BRZ.

The 86 was developed in collaboration with Subaru, which markets its own mechanically similar version of the compact rear-drive coupe as the BRZ.

GoAuto reported in November 2011 that the BRZ/86 was capable of being produced as an open-top, with its body structure designed to handle the loss of rigidity associated with removing the roof, plus frameless windows which are necessary for a convertible.

A Subaru product planning chief responsible for the BRZ told GoAuto in Japan: “Everyone who sees this coupe wants a convertible. If demand is enough, they can have it.” The 86 coupe has been a sell-out success in Australia since its launch in June 2012, with the waiting list of high-spec GTS variants swiftly blowing out to 18 months.

Subaru, meanwhile, had similar issues when it launched the BRZ the same month, with its entire allocation (much smaller than Toyota’s) sold out online in just three hours.

Last week the company announced it had snared an extra 200 units of the fiery Japanese coupe, cutting back the waiting list to around seven months.

Should the convertible 86 (and possibly a BRZ derivative) make production, the likely next step is the introduction of forced induction. GoAuto understands a compact supercharger is more likely than a more common turbocharger, with space under the curvaceous bonnet at a premium.

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