Toyota reveals the new FT-86 Open concept

It’s a GT86 cabriolet to you and me, but Toyota has chosen to retain its concept nomenclature for the time being. Making its first public appearance at next week’s Geneva Motor Show, the FT-86 Open is an 2+2 soft-top version of Toyota’s highly regarded sports coupe.

Using the same platform and powertrain as the GT86, the FT-86 Open drives the rear wheels through a short-throw, six-speed manual gear shift or a six-speed auto – the latter claimed to be the world’s fastest paddle shift speed auto with shift times of just two tenths of a second.

The show car has a special pure bright white and navy blue colour scheme designed by Toyota Boshoku Milan Design (TBMD) to capture the spirit and atmosphere of Milan (good job it wasn’t designed at Toyota’s UK plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire).

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Inside, the perforated white leather upholstery is layered over a navy blue backing, with golden yellow accent stitching and carpets.

The FT-86 Open is still undergoing development to minimise the impact of the cabriolet design on the GT86’s performance – given the usual penalties of weight gain, loss of rigidity, and changes in balance and aerodynamics.

The 1257kg GT86 isn’t exactly blessed with the abundance of torque, so Toyota are trying to engineer the cabriolet to be “weight-neutral” relative to the coupe.

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Toyota designed the GT86 with the development of a cabriolet in mind, with its frameless doors, but other measures are being looked at to preserve structural integrity including door lock reinforcements.

While the fitment of a fabric roof is likely to tip the centre of mass slightly rearwards, on the plus side it will also bring the centre of gravity even lower. Toyota are keen to preserve the GT86’s near-perfect 53:47 front-to-rear weight distribution, and thereby ensure the convertible offers the same balanced driving experience as the coupe.

Source: Film ‘Shadow Dodging’ by Toyota Europe.