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Toyota ‘to build 86 convertible’

Lose the roof: A topless Toyota 86 appears to be on the way, shortly behind the coupe.

Engineer confirms topless Toyota 86 on the way, according to German report

Toyota logo2 Mar 2012

By RON HAMMERTON

TOYOTA appears to have confirmed the inevitable – the zippy rear-drive 86 sportscar will be produced as a convertible, as well as the existing two-door coupe.

And if Toyota takes the open-top route – as reported exclusively by GoAuto three months ago – then Subaru cannot be far behind with a similar version of its near-identical BRZ.

German magazine Autobild has quoted Toyota 86 chief engineer Tetsuya Tada as confirming the development of the convertible version of the boxer-engined sportscar that has been a joint development of Toyota and Subaru.

“The GT 86 was designed from the outset (so) that we can build it as a convertible,” he said.

Autobild said Toyota had not yet decided the launch timing of the convertible, which would go head-to-head with the iconic Mazda MX-5.

The possibility of the topless version was reported exclusively by GoAuto last November when the Subaru product planning chief responsible for the BRZ told us in Japan: “Everyone who sees this coupe wants a convertible. If demand is enough, they can have it.”

8 center imageLeft: Subaru BRZ.

A frameless door design – necessary for a convertible – is already in place on the coupe, providing at least one clue that the designers and engineers were thinking about a roofless version from the outset.

The Toyota 86 – to be called GT 86 in Europe and Scion FR-S in North America – is set to be launched in Australia about mid-year, with the Subaru version arriving about the same time or a little later.

The 86 and BRZ share a normally aspirated 2.0-litre twin-cam flat-four engine that develops 147kW of power at 7000rpm and a modest 205Nm of torque at 6600rpm.

Subaru engineers have told GoAuto that turbocharging the engine will be difficult because of its low-slung packaging towards the rear of the engine bay, but hopes for a more powerful variant are alive, with UK’s Autocar quoting Mr Tada as saying Toyota has been evaluating supercharged versions of the boxer engine.

The engine is a collaboration between Toyota and Subaru, with Toyota supplying the D-4S dual-injection system that employs both direct and port injection.

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