Toyota FT-86 Open Concept: No foregone conclusion

Date:14 May 2013 Tags:

When it came to creating minimalist, affordable sportsters, Honda (with its S2000) and Mazda (MX-5 Miata) went the drop-top route, to great effect. In view of the runaway success enjoyed by the Toyota 86 coupé and its Subaru BRZ twin, a convertible seemed the obvious thing to do. Even so, the Open is described as a “testing of the waters” rather than a
pre-production concept.
Aside from the soft top, it’s pure 86. However, Toyota says, there is lots of work to do in assessing the impact of the cabriolet design on performance, vehicle rigidity, balance, weight and aerodynamics. As a solid roof forms part of a car’s body structure, cabrios inevitably compromise rigidity and compensate for that by adding bulk – and weight. Luckily (or was that by design…?) the car is already part of the way there, with extra stiffness built in from the outset to cater for the car’s frameless doors, which in themselves hint at cabrio potential. There’s also concern about how a fabric roof will affect the car’s overall balance, given that it will likely lower the centre of gravity.

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