When Toyota and Fuji heavy Industries — the company that owns Subaru H announced a “compact RWD sports car that will utilize Subaru’s ‘boxer’ engine technologies” at the ’09 Tokyo motor show, everyone clapped, had a little think about it, and clapped a bit harder. In an automotive arms race that was positing more of everything, everywhere, all the time, it became a calming breeze across the fevered brow of the world of sports cars.

The car would be a small coupe, with a six-speed manual gearbox, driven through the rear wheels. It would be light (1,2SOkg in production trim), simple (manual, rear-drive, LSD) and back to basics. A bit like the original AE 86 Corolla Coupe. It would use either the naturally aspirated 2.0 litre four pot, or the 2.5-litre turbocharged from the Subaru catalogue, the former with a rnodest 15Obhp (good for insurance/cost and COi cleanliness purposes), the other with anything up to the current WRX STi’s 300bhp/300lb ft output.

The price-tag was mooted as being under £20k for the basic model, slapping it directly into the path of the likes of fast front-wheel drive, hot hatch coupes like the Scirocco and Megane RS, but also dealing itself in to play against heavier hitters like the Golf R and BMW I-Series. Since then, there have been many rumors.

We’ve heard the development costs have gone up, the car has become heavier and more upmarket (possibly to accommodate a 4dr platform for the next-gen Lexus IS), even that there will be a hybrid drivetrain not dissimilar to that in the Honda CR-Z, somewhat missing the point. That the engine may be relegated to something between the two power options by being a naturally aspirated 2.5 litre 4cyl and/or a 3.0-litre flat six. Robbing us of simplicity and implying extra cost. In fact, the FT 86 has been around for so long that Toyota’s even shown a modified version, the FT-86 G-Sports concept at the 2010 Australian motor show. The worry is that the late 2011 slot might be pushed back further. We sincerely hope not.

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