2012 Toyota and Subaru FT86 Price, Review, Specs, what car reviews, Toyota and Subaru are collaborating on a shared four-cylinder sports car that will be sold in two versions, beginning near the end of 2011. Largely engineered by Subaru, the cars will get a rear-drive platform consisting of a steel structure with aluminum body panels. A small, 2.0-liter flat-four engine made by Subaru will sit low behind the front-axle line. Toyota previewed its FT86 concept at last year’s Tokyo auto show; Subaru has yet to show its cards.

Neither automaker has released official names, but it is rumored that Toyota may revive “Celica,” which has been on hiatus since 2003. “FT” means “future Toyota,” and the “86” serves as a reminder of the rear-drive AE86 Corolla of the 1980s that has achieved cult status among drifters. Designed at Toyota’s European studio in the south of France, the FT86 concept’s shape is expected to enter production unchanged.

2012 Toyota and Subaru FT86 specs

Toyota’s boss, part-time racer Akio Toyoda, recognizes that the brand lacks emotional appeal and doesn’t offer gobs of driving pleasure, so the company hopes the new car will inject some fun into the lineup. For Subaru, the new vehicle brings a dedicated rear-drive sports car to the company’s stable of all-wheel-drive hatchbacks, wagons, and sedans. But Subaru has built its reputation and much of its sales success on extolling the virtues of all-wheel drive, so how the sports car will change Subaru’s heading remains to be seen.

Toyota thinks it will be plenty for sporty acceleration, thanks to the 86′s emphasis on low weight and low center of gravity. Toyota hasn’t officially unveiled the curb weight, but rumblings around the Internet indicate that the coupe will tip the scales at about 2,600 pounds. This means that the each of the 86′s ponies has to pull about 13.2 pounds of car, that’s a weight-to-power ratio that, on paper, translates to acceleration that is slightly better than a 2012 Mazda Miata or a 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T.

Toyota also makes it a point to note that the horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine is mounted low and aft in the engine bay to promote a lower center of gravity and a 53:47 weight balance between the front and rear axles.

In the cabin, the compact GT 86 is revealed to be a 2+2 with an actual rear seat, although exactly how useful the back seat will be in a vehicle that’s actually about an inch shorter than the Nissan 370Z, but if Toyota figured out how to fit 3-plus adults in an iQ, it should be able to work similar magic here as well.

2012 Toyota and Subaru FT86 price

Toyota is aiming for a recommended price just over $30,000 for its rear-drive FT-86 coupe when it goes on-sale here mid-2012.