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Spy Shot Toyobaru


It's a test mule for the upcoming Subaru version of the shared FT-86 sports car being developed by Toyota. The outrageous body bits are supposed to disguise the car underneath, but instead - particularly because of the rear wing - they point directly to the Subaru connection.

It's some of the most bizarre camouflage to hit the road in recent years but there is already a change from earlier test cars - a bonnet with a major bump. This could point to a top-mounted intercooler, something common on turbocharged Subaru engines, but there are also signs of a front-mounted cooler in the test car.

So the bump points to this being a Subaru mechanical test car running the engine and transmission from the Impreza STi. Carparazzi sources say the FT-86 project uses a modified Subaru Liberty chassis with some Impreza parts, but with rear-wheel drive only.  It has two-plus-two seating in the cabin and fully-independent suspension.

Some sources say the car will be ready by the end of 2011, at least as a Toyota, but there are also rumours it will not be ready for the road unit the back end of 2012. Even so, there is every chance of FT-86 appearances on the international motor show circuit, wearing both Toyota and Subaru badges, next year.