The born-again Sprinter is definitely a coupe and now there will be a four-door sedan for Toyota showrooms. Even though sedans are not popular in Japan - with the exception of the car sold as the Lexus IS200 and Toyota Altezza - Toyota can see serious potential in a global car from the FT-86.
The loyal Altezza customers are one reason why, according to a source close to Toyota, the sedan has been given the go-ahead. It also helps that the basics are available and easy to tweak for four-door work.
In truth, using the FT-86’s platform for a sports sedan is a kind of insurance policy to cover any potential shortfall FT-86 sales. At the same time, it makes the most of the rare rear-drive platform.
One Japanese commentator even goes so far as to say that the sports sedan project is a safety net, just in case the FT-86 fails, so that Toyota does not have to cancel the project altogether.
The Carsguide source tells us that the sedan will not only incorporate the FT-86’s Subaru Liberty-based mechanical package, but get the same 150-kiloWatt boxer engine and six-speed manual transmission (or CVT) from the Impreza as well.
Expected to fall into a segment rivalling something between the BMW 1- Series and 3-Series, and including the Audi A3 and the Golf GTI, the Japanese domestic sticker price should land near $30,000.
Given that more power might be required down the line, Toyota will have the ability to bring the Subaru Outback’s 3.6 litre H6 engine into the equation. But by the time the new sports sedan - not to mention the FT-86 coupe- finally makes it to showrooms in 2013, Subaru will have its own in- house hybrid boxer engine.
This will create yet another powertrain opportunity for Toyota and a package that will, according to our source, be more exciting to drive than Toyota’s current crop of hybrids.