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Toyota Australia looks forward to fun

Place-holder: Chief engineer Tetsuya Tada says the upcoming 86 could eventually be bookended by two more Toyota sportscars as the Japanese giant searches for more soul. Bottom: TMC president Akio Toyoda launches the 86 at Fuji.

86 coupe just the start as Toyota lifts its skirts under its ‘fun to drive’ mantra

9 Dec 2011

TOYOTA’S new-found determination to “put the passion and joy back into driving” is set to result in more sportscars in the range, with the upcoming 86 rear-drive coupe likely to be sandwiched between a pocket-rocket and a born-again ‘Supra’.

If that happens, you will not hear any objections from Toyota Australia, whose senior executive of sales and marketing David Buttner says he is excited about the prospect of a renewed focus on driving pleasure at the big Japanese company.

He said Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda – grandson of the company founder – was a sportscar enthusiast with a passion for product and a policy based on bringing back the pleasure and joy of driving.

“On the back of that, I expect over time we will see some other models to complement the 86,” Mr Buttner said at this week’s Camry launch.

Mr Buttner said Toyota Australia had been given no firm plans on any expansion of Toyota’s performance car portfolio, but added: “Anything is possible down the track.”

8 center imageRecent reports from Japan quote Toyota chief engineer Tetsuya Tada as saying he would like to see two more sportscars in the range after the 86 – one larger and one smaller.

Toyota Australia has confirmed that the rear-drive boxer-engined 86 coupe is on target to be launched locally in mid-2012.

Mr Buttner said Toyota Australia was looking forward to the car, which had already generated a lot of interest in Australia via a follower page on Toyota’s website.

He said the company expected strong sales initially – like most popular sportscars – but he was not ready yet to divulge prospective volumes.

“We expect some pretty high, early demand,” he said. “We have to make sure we know the ongoing running rate.

“With any launch, there is always high demand, and you have to make sure you have stock coming towards it.

“At this stage, we are getting advice from Japan that there won’t be any restrictions on supply, so hopefully we can satisfy the demand.”

The 86 – known in Europe as the GT 86 and in the US as Scion FR-S – was developed in league with Subaru, which is yet to announce if it will bring its near-identical version, the BRZ, to Australia.

Mr Buttner said Toyota Australia had no advice about any potential higher-performance 86, saying all the focus was on the launch model that was shown in production guise for the first time recently in Japan ahead of the Tokyo motor show.

Autocar quotes Mr Tada as saying Toyota has been evaluating supercharged versions of the 86’s boxer engine.

In its standard normally aspirated format, the 1998cc DOHC flat four develops 147kW of power at 7000rpm and a modest 205Nm of torque at 6600rpm.

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.

Despite rumours of a turbocharged BRZ performance leader, GoAuto was told by Subaru engineers that turbocharging the engine would be difficult due to the tight packaging in the engine bay.

The engine is set lower and further back than other Subaru cars, such as the WRX, meaning space around the exhausts would be too restricted for turbos.

Toyota previously has indicated it would like to bring the 86 to market in Australia with a low $30k sticker price, but that pricing is yet to be confirmed.

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