• Nov 18th 2009 at 10:28AM
  • 67
Toyota FT-86 Concept - click above for high-res image gallery

While most sports car fans everywhere are waiting with bated breath for the new Toyota FT-86 to arrive from the Land of the Rising Sun, some of us are a little bit more excited about the car's Subaru cousin. Why is that, especially considering that the FT-86 appears to be kinda just what the doctor ordered (rear-wheel drive, 200 horsepower, light, cheap)? Well, for one thing, Subarus are all-wheel drive. And while rear-wheel driven sports cars definitely have their charms (earlier rumors even suggested that Fuji Heavy (i.e. Subaru) was even caving and going rear-drive with its version of the Toyobaru), there's really little in life as fun as blasting down a gravel road at a seemingly unsafe clip while kicking up mountainous clouds of dust. Plus, you know, rain and all that.

Then there's the engine. Our pals at Inside Line are reporting that the Subaru iteration of the FT-86 will have more power – 250 hp according to them. Using Jeremy Clarkson-style logic, 250 hp is better than 200 hp. Because it's more. IL claims that the Toyobaru will use a version of the just-developed-for-the-FT-86 flat-four 2.0-liter engine – supposedly naturally aspirated like in the FT-86.

But here's the thing – the smallest engine Subaru offers American consumers these days is a 2.5-liter boxer. And that motor, turbo-tuned for WRX duty, makes 265 hp (though we've driven it and we'd wager it kicks out a bit more than that). Why would Subaru put a smaller, weaker engine into a $30,000 coupe ($30,000 according to the IL article) than the motor they stick in the $25,000 WRX? Exactly –we don't think they would.

Inside Line also says the Subaru version will be larger than the Toyota car because of a "stretched platform." We're not sure if that means longer or wider – or both – but we'd err on the side of longer, as in more backseat room. What we're looking at then, is a big-ish, AWD coupe with a lot of power. Can you say 2011 SVX? We knew you could.

[Source: Inside Line]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I agree with you, although I think you may find newer Subarus might push a little less.

      When I bought my Legacy, it had to be both my fun car, AND my daily, as I could not afford two cars for just myself... But to be honest, my wife drives a Miata, so it is more of a fun car right off the bat. Now our third car is a second Subaru, an SVX, and a second winter-capable commuter, and a great touring coupe in it's own right, and well worth the $1000 it cost me... Worth several times that, in fact.

      I'll agree with you right away that a Subaru won't dance like a Miata will. But a Miata won't get you home every single day, no matter what the weather like a Subaru... and my Legacy has twice the power.

      It may weigh 1000 pounds more, as well, but it travels much, much, much easier, and even my 3450lb and my 3600lb Subarus are not overly ponderous. They aren't 4000+lb Dodge Challenger, either, even if Challenger SRT8 has way more power than my Subarus. I would take the Subaru as a compromise between the two in handling, and the AWD for weather that would keep both a Miata and a Challenger in the garage for sure.

      I can completely see why an autocross weekend toy would better befit the Toyota concept, than the Subaru coupe mentioned in the article, which is closer to Impreza's specifications, and wouldn't dispute people who chose that route for that purpose.

      But if they pull off this Subaru coupe well, the Subaru will likely be the better everyday car, and that is what I want.
      -Something that will do a nearly 45 mile daily round trip commute without a complaint.
      -Something that will put a smile on my face after a long day.
      -Something that will keep up with me when I go find some riverside curves to chase.
      -Something that will leave slow traffic safely behind me when I want to pass.
      -Something that will slice the airflow like a razor, on the open highway when I travel
      -Something that will not leave me completely tired, aching, and my ears ringing when I get there.

      And will do that in ANY weather that the midwest climate pattern can throw at me. My subarus do that far better than any RWD light-rear-end vehicle I have ever owned, and also better than any car I have owned or driven with a heavy upright engine hanging above the front axle, driving the front wheels. I would put my snow-tired Subaru up against almost anything shy of a modified truck or snow machine in the winter, the only thing it lacks is ground clearance.

      And when I put the summer performance tires on it in the spring, it is still a fast, and very entertaining ride the rest of the whole year. Most cars don't have anywhere near kind of versatility, almost certainly not a dedicated sports car, certainly not my Miata, which has a different set of goals and strengths.

      That is why I am perennially in favor of companies not just copying each other, and why I get very frustrated when Subaru does copy, as they did with the '10 Legacy... it limits automotive diversity, and limits the choices of people.

      If Toyota takes the direction that you prefer, and Subaru takes the direction that I prefer, and they can base the cars on some of the same hardware to share costs, and make the vehicles viable for sale, and profitable to make... all the better. We each get an option that we like.

      It would be worse if they were clones, then you'd just have two of the same thing for someone, and nothing for the other person's taste.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Uh, far for me to question the AutoBlog gods but didn't anyone note that the 2.5L North American Boxer makes the same amount of power as the 2.0L JDM Boxer? Apparently Subaru made a larger engine available to North America because it has a different torque curve and offers up more torque at lower ends. That's the total difference between the engines. That and you can still get a 300 HP WRX STi in Canada (don't know about the States though).

      Frankly, they should offer up an Eclipse fighter. Then they can taunt Mitsubishi for screwing up the Eclipse and say..."See? This is what you should have done. Instead of the front wheel drive piece of offal that you sell."
      • 5 Years Ago
      They'd probably go with an EJ20 based engine because its been around alot longer, and is more reliable than the EJ25 family of engines.

      It also makes more sense in a smaller coupe to have a smaller displacement motor, because torque isn't as much an issue.

      So long as they can get it easily certified for US emissions, that is.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The EJ engine family is ONE family of engines. The EJ20 and EJ25 are both members of that family. The original SVX's EG-series 6-cylinder is derived from the EJ22. They all share the same design, with a few differences for DOHC, or turbocharging, and such.

        The newer EZ-series 6-cylinder engines, EZ30, EZ30R, and EZ36, are a different design than the EJ/EG engines. They are much different, dimensionally.

        the first two numbers after EJ, EG, or EZ, or even the rumor of the new FJ engine series, simply denote the engine's displacement. 2.0, 2.2, 2.5, 3.0, 3.3, 3.6 liters, etc...

        The rumor is that the new Toyota is using a new 2.0 engine, possibly named FJ20, that is derived not from the EJ20, but rather scaled down from the EZ30, by cutting off two cylinders to make it a 4-cylinder engine. That would make it a much shorter length engine than an EJ20, and probably would have dual AVCS valve timing, AVLS valve lift, EZ36's under-slung oil and water pump assembly, and other newer features of the EZ engine family, plus the rumor of having Toyota's direct fuel injection system possibly installed in the heads.

        But that engine, having shorter cylinder pitch, and thinner walls is also less robust for turbocharging, which may be left to further developments of the EJ25 series engines, which are federalized, where the EJ20 with the twin scroll turbocharger isn't. Even Australia, which gets their subarus from Japan's factory, rather than the Lafayette Indiana factory, had to move their turbocharged Liberty (what we know as Legacy) over to the EJ25 turbo engine, from the EJ20 turbo engine a few years back, for emissions standards requirement.

        Plus the 2.0 liter cap on WRC cars doesn't really handicap Subaru anymore, by Subaru no longer participating in the crippled WRC series, with their new transverse inline drivetrain rules. WRX STI had to be homologated in the Japanese home market with a 2.0 Turbo engine for that... but that is no longer required.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah I TOTALLY worded that wrong.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So basically it'll be a two door WRX with 250hp for $30k.
      Pass the 5.0 Mustang please.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is exactly why this speculation will never come to fruition.

        At $30,000, this SVX will never penetrate the market. It will probably need a 350-400hp turbo flat-6 to even have a chance in hell.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really loved the SVX myself! I cant wait!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm guessing that this will be more of an XT-class coupe. SVX would be much larger, and that wouldn't work.

        By "larger", I'm just assuming that the Subie version would be a bit longer in the nose to fit the engine in front of the axle.

        The idea of Subie totally reworking a Corolla chassis shell into a full-size SVX coupe seems too much work.

        But I'd love it if they did it!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I was afraid that this might be the first Subaru in the US without AWD and that it might not have a boxer-engine.

      Sounds like (hopefully) those fears were unwarranted.

      Now I am just worried about the typically bad Subaru styling and the potential for this car to be portly. I honestly rather have a smaller/lighter car with less HP than a pig with more power.

      Also, it better start below $30k... there is already a lot of tough competition in the $30k+ range.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is what Subaru should do.

      The car should be a 3-door coupe bodystyle, with design language that is a cross between the 2005-2009 Legacy and the new Hybrid Tourer concept. NOT like the Impreza, nor the '10 Legacy... meaning, that it is good looking.

      It should be as sleek and aerodynamic as the aforementioned Legacy's front end, and the 1992-1997 SVX's roofline and general profile, with the mentioned liftback, rather than a small trunk opening.

      Give it a NICE interior design. Not opulent or complicated... but nice. Mix up a little bit of 2005-2009 Legacy, 92-97 SVX, maybe a touch of Tribeca's sweeping dash design, and it's 3-LCD-dial auto climate control console... with soft, padded vinyl, not hard cold plastic. Make it an interior worthy of a driver's car, not an economy slug.

      Give it the option for leather interior. Give it a sunroof/glass panoramic roof option. Give it big windows, and a low belt-line, low cowl, and a low front end, for good visibility, which have been Subaru trademarks in the past.

      Give it three engine options, each with a transmission choice.
      2.5i with CVT or 5MT.
      2.5 turbo 4 with 6MT or an improved 6EAT-sport shift.
      3.6 H6 with 6MT or mentioned 6EAT.

      They can feel free to replace the 6EAT choice with a dual-clutch if they would like, it would be all the more attractive for it.

      Offer a base model that is nice and light weight... 32-3300lbs like an Impreza. Offer GT packages that actually add a lot of touring niceties, and are not watered down.

      Someone should be able to choose between a bare-bones, inexpensive, but high-value 2.5i model that gets good economy with the practicality of AWD. Starts in the low $20K range

      Or choose a WRX-like 260hp turbocharged sport compact coupe. Starts in the mid 20K range without leather, ~$28K with leather and some options
      Option Up to STI with 300+ hp, Brembos, sport Bilsteins, sport suspension settings and the whole works, comparable to the WRX STI... SI-Drive and DCCD... but hopefully with the price brought back to the more sane $32-34K range, rather than pushing near $40K.

      OR, choose the SVX-like model, with the 300+ hp 3.6 H6 engine, and full amenities (including the brembos and touring-calibrated Bilsteins, SI-Drive, VTD, torsen limited slip, etc...) as a grand touring coupe with AWD, and optional manual gearbox. Something G37X doesn't offer together, and under the price of a similarly equipped A5 or 330xi. Somewhere around $35K without optional Navigation, but with most other features being standard. Coincidently, that is about what a new SVX LS-L cost in 1992.

      This car would bridge between the current Impreza, WRX, and WRX STI, and the older 2007-2009 Legacy GT Spec B, and 3.0R Limited, and be roughly the same size as all of those cars, which all share the same basic chassis.

      But it would look as sleek and modern as an up-to-date SVX, and succeed on the details that Genesis Coupe stumbles on, like the sagging rear window, and the lack of a lift-back, and the plasticy, cross-eyed interior.

      And also... it should have 5x114.3 bolt-pattern wheels across the whole line, not just the STI model. Much easier to fit aftermarket wheels to. SVX and STI and Tribeca have that in common, at least.
        • 5 Years Ago
        As the irishman Stephen in Braveheart would say... "This is MY island!"

        Some folks like muscle cars. Some folks like featherweight track day darlings, some like caddies, some like trucks. Some like motorcycles more than anything with more than two wheels. All sorts of different horses for different courses.

        I like some of that other stuff, too... but this is my briar patch. :D

        Heck, I'd step up to a Porsche Carrera 4S or a Turbo, if I could afford it. AWD and Boxer engines...
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Boxer: completely agree with you! Subaru should hire you to make this car lol. They should also have their World Rally Blue with gold BBS wheels! That would be sooo awesome.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I read AB last night rather wistfully, looking for some more info on this upcoming auto combo. Thanks for coming through today! The Toyota is looking hot, but i'll have to see the numbers on the Subie before I get excited. It will probably come down to whether a forward thinking design team makes the decisions or a backwards thinking board room full of fat old men makes the decisions.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My prediction is:

      In Japan, the Toyota gets the 2.0 N/A and the Suby gets a 2.0 Turbo.

      In the US, the Toyota gets the 2.5 N/A and the Suby gets the 2.5 Turbo.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sounds Awesome... now are they both coming to the states? Originally we were only going to get the Subie, are we getting both?

      I'd happily take either... (or both.) but I am still leaning more towards the lighter RWD Toyota.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I would think the Genesis Coupe would be the main competitor to this car. Looks like all the specs are relatively in line with the current Hyundai.

        While the Hyundai is a nice looking car, and deserves the reputation it has received so far, I'm more a fan right now of this Toyota (and I haven't really liked ANYTHING from Toyota since the Supra and Celica GT-Four), and more so the Subaru version of it (though all we've seen of that is the concept sketches on the internet.)
        • 5 Years Ago
        the key thing is the price...it sounds like the subaru version has potential to cost a lot more with AWD and possibly a beafier engine. I hope one of them sticks to the basic RWD, 200ish hp, and CHEAP!

        either way the competition has grown supprizingly well with the 370Z, mustangs, camaros, gencoupe
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ehh, after reading this I'm leaning back to the Toyota... frankly the Subaru sounds too big, heavy and expensive for me... assuming that any of this is real.

      I just want a small, reasonably fast, reliable car that gets decent milage.
      • 5 Years Ago
      nice, would love to see the return of the SVX, maybe just lacking the weired ugly windows that the original had...

      me thinks the 3.0L H6 would slide in nicely, and naturally aspirated its just under 250HP.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Too bad you're the only fan of those nasty windows. Apparently the window design wasn't all THAT because the SVX was the first and last to wear that design.

        I thought that the SVX was the flagship of Subaru? Why make it less powerful than the WRX or WRX STi? Also, at $30,000 price point, this speculated SVX will be a flop before it even hits the market. Let's see, what else can I get for $30,000 that is better than weaker twin of the WRX? Oh, I don't know...a WRX???

        Subaru can rebadge a Ford Pinto as the new SVX and you would still sign the papers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        1. Delorean - A low production poorly built car with gull wing doors that didn't sell very well.

        2. Lamborghini Countach - A low production exotic with questionable reliability with lambo doors.

        3. McLaren - A low production exotic wit gullwing doors.

        4. Subaru SVX - a poorly received Japanese coupe with conventional opening doors.

        Which of the above does not belong? What are these other "tons of cars" with window within a window design and did they have conventional opening doors? Just accept the fact that the window design was a poor one and no one else does it on a typical car for very good reasons. The exotics had it as a necessity because of the way their doors worked.
        • 5 Years Ago

        You are so wrong.

        I am one of the most particular, and outspoken people here about Subarus in general, and you think I would accept just anything with the SVX name on it?

        Are you kidding?

        There are a million ways Subaru can screw this up, just like they screwed up my other favorite Subaru, the Legacy GT. I certainly am NOT a fan of what they have done to it.

        And no, I am NOT the only one who liked those windows... and no, SVX is not the only car to ever wear them.

        DeLorean DMC-12 had window-in-a-window. Lamborghini Countach did. Perhaps the biggest of all... the McLaren F1 had those kind of windows, right around the same time that SVX did.

        Why don't you find out what you are talking about, first. I already know what I am talking about, and that is why I like my SVX. The nameplate isn't it. The merit of the car itself is.

        Subaru can do this right, if they choose to. But they also have a track record of botching this sort of thing, and I don't give them a pass when they botch things.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you've never had a SVX (and likely you didn't with only 25,000 sold worldwide), you cannot fully appreciate the window-in-window glass. It's awesome. It keeps things super quiet at speed (and by speed, I mean 100+ mph). And you have tremendous visibility all-around. Plus, you can drive with the window open in the rain. Easily one of the best features of the car.

        Of course, now we're getting into the SVX owners club, but nevertheless, window-in-window glass has real benefits from a fuel economy, noise, and safety standpoint.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Where did I, or anyone else say that EVERY car need that feature?

        I was countering Jo, who said that no other car had it, which is factually false.

        And since you aren't the sole arbiter of all that is good, why not live and let live... and let those of us who like that feature, maybe have a car that has it.

        And as John H. mentioned... few people, comparatively, have even ever become familiar with a car with window-in-a-window, and become acquainted with the benefits.

        Regardless of the hinge orientation, a multi-piece window allows for more glass area, and more visibility. A normal window's size is determined by the shape and volume of the door, and how much glass can roll down into that space, since the whole thing usually rolls down. AND by being moveable, it has restrictions on curvature. A split window resolve those issues.

        It also allows for flush fitting glass, and the better curvature works for better aerodynamics and Cd. Other than looking a little different, and having a bit less open area when rolled down, (and those roll-dows on the SVX's doors are a bit bigger than they look, btw...)

        Also, the side view mirrors are further forward compared to the driver, which helps minimize the blind spot, as well as the quarter windows having much more open visibility than most other cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow. Jo doesn't know what he's talking about at all. Tons of cars have split windows. I loved them as well. The only time they really suck is if you have a black SVX with a black interior and it's 100 degrees out and your A/C fails so you wind up driving 70 miles into milwaukee wearing nothing but your boxer shorts. And... yeah, I was contemplating even removing those. That much glass with such a small opening on a hot sunny day = horrid.

        Other than that one experience though... AWESOME. I miss my SVX very much. I'll get another one someday. :)
        • 5 Years Ago

        Have you ever driven with the windows cracked open in the rain, and not gotten wet?

        The upper window panels, by virtue of not having to roll down, reach all the way to the roof, and are much larger both in length, and height, than most cars, which grants amazing visibility.

        And, they over-lap the window frames, making the glass flush at the seams with the windshield, and the roof, and making the car more aerodynamic, and quiet.

        The windows are almost a selling point unto themselves, once you get familiar with them.

        If I could get a new car with those kind of windows, and a two-panel glass panoramic roof (like tC, Mini, and others... or like G6's multi-panel opening roof) and a heads-up display... that would be fantastic.

        Make it a new Subaru SVX with boxer power, and AWD (and a manual gearbox this time...) where do I sign?
        • 5 Years Ago
        About the engine comment:

        A 3.0R is under-rated, and the 3.6 H6 is probably significantly under-tuned likely in order not to blow 5-speed automatic transaxles under warranty, which are the only ones that those engines are currently mated with in the US. No engine mated to the 5EAT transaxle makes more than about 260lb-ft of torque from the factory. It is likely the reason that the Impreza GT exists with 230hp, rather than the ~260hp WRX having the choice between Automatic and Manual gearboxes.

        If they strengthen the 5EAT, maybe make it a 6EAT... or better yet... go to a PDK/DSG like dual-clutch gearbox that can handle more than 300hp and lb-ft. of torque...

        They could also tune the H6 engines to their potential, AND offer full STI power with a 4-cylinder turbo option.

        With the robust 6-speed manual from the WRX STI and 07-09 Legacy Spec B, and a robust 2-pedal gearbox... they could handle engines with more than 300hp, and their engines could do it, if so tuned.
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