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Mike Stevens | May 9, 2011

TOYOTA FT-86

Toyota has today confirmed that its recent FT-86 II Concept will make its local debut at July's Australian International Motor Show (AIMS) in Melbourne.

Toyota Australia boss David Buttner described the concept as an homage to the company's past hero cars, including the famous 2000GT, the Supra and the MR2.

"Its name is derived from another legendary Toyota, the AE86 Corolla, also known as Hachi-Roku, which means 8-6 in Japanese," Mr Buttner said.

"It heralds a compact, rear-drive production car with the style, performance and handling demanded by those who regard driving as a passion rather than a necessity."

Mr Buttner said Toyota's global president Akio Toyoda believes the mission of carmakers is to provide "the fundamental excitement" of cars to customers with vehicles that people want to drive.

"The FT-86 II concept illustrates one of the ways Toyota plans to bring that mission to life," he said.

Information on Toyota's upcoming FT-86 sports car has come in on the slow drip since the first concept was unveiled in 2009.

Three subsequent concepts have appeared in the years and months since, including the FT-86 G Sports Concept (which appeared in Australia last year), the FT-86 II and the Scion FR-S concept - the latter focusing on the company's US-market youth brand.

Earlier this month, Toyota offered the most concrete timeline yet on the sports car's production, confirming a 2012 model-year debut - suggesting either a late 2011 or early 2012 launch.

For Australia, that's expected to mean a late 2012 or early 2013 debut.

Importantly for Australian buyers, the FT-86 II is understood to offer the most accurate preview of the production model's styling, although its lights and some body elements may be softened ahead of launch.

The FT-86 has been developed in partnership with Subaru. It's the smaller company that will provide the car's heart, with a Toyota-enhanced version of its 2.0 litre boxer engine confirmed for the rear-wheel-drive coupe.

Power figures remain a tightly-held secret, although Toyota promises greater output than the 110kW offered with the new engine in its stock form.

Power will be sent to the rear wheels through six-speed transmissions, both manual and automatic.

Whether more details will be revealed at AIMS remains to be seen, but we're hopeful.

Watch this space.

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