Initial layout and design elements for the 86 were first shown in 2007 on the Toyota FT-HS concept car. The FT-HS had a front engine, rear-wheel drive layout and 2+2 seating, but utilized a V6 engine with hybrid electric assistance. In 2008 Toyota bought 16.5% ofFuji Heavy Industries, parent to Subaru. Toyota, led by project leader Tetsuya Tada,offered Subaru involvement in their sport coupé project, co-developing a new boxer engineknown as the D4-S, but Subaru rejected plans for further development of a rear wheel drive sports coupe due to their vehicle line-up predominantly offering all-wheel drive. Subaru's balk led the project to a six month halt before Toyota invited journalist and Subaru engineers to test a developmental prototype to demonstrate the capabilities of the platform. Following the test, Subaru agreed to become further involved in development.
The new collaboration produced a new concept car in October 2009 at the Tokyo Motor Show, the FT-86. Smaller than the FT-HS, the design of the FT-86 was further refined by Toyota's ED2 design studio while the hybrid V6 engine was replaced by the new D4-S boxer. Subaru provided the chassis and gearbox for the concept car, basing it on a Impreza. The concept was painted Shoujyouhi Red, based on the backside of a Japanese Macaque.
The following year, Toyota launched their G Sports line of aftermarket accessories, and showed the FT-86 G Sports fitted with G Sports performance parts. These included carbon fibre panels, a vented bonnet, rear wing, 19 in (48 cm) wheels, Recaro race seats, and an interior rollcage. The D4-S engine also added a turbocharger.
In 2011, Toyota and Subaru unveiled five near-production concept cars to show their progress with the project. The first, known as the FT-86 II Concept, was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2011. ED2 refined the design of the initial FT-86, developing new front and rear fascias, and increasing the dimensions of the car by several millimeters. At the same show Subaru unveiled a transparent silhouette concept car to show off the new D4-S boxer engine and display the "Boxer Sports Car Architecture". Scion followed next in April at the New York Auto Show with the FR-S Sports Coupe Concept, co-developed with aftermarket tuner Five Axis. Another semi-transparent Subaru, known as the BRZ Prologue, was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, followed in November at the Los Angeles International Auto Show by the BRZ Concept STI, the first full mock-up of Subaru's version of the 86 with input fromSubaru Tecnica International.
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