Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda has taken to the racetrack to show off his company’s new rear-wheel drive sports car, the Hachi Roku (‘eight six’ in Japanese). The new car is not quite a production model, however, with Toyota labelling it a production prototype.

The 86 is a joint venture with Fuji Heavy Industries and it will be built alongside the closely related Subaru BRZ at FHI’s Ota plant in Japan’s Gunma prefecture. Production of both cars is not due to commence until March. Toyota and Fuji will display the Hachi Roku and BRZ at the Tokyo motor show later this week.

The four-seater Hachi Rocku uses a 147kW (200PS/197BHP) direct injection 2.0-litre boxer engine supplied by FHI, which Toyota claims will rev beyond 7,000rpm. In Japan, at least, both six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions will be offered.

The car’s dimensions are claimed to be as follows: length, 4,240mm; width, 1,775mm; height, 1,300mm; wheelbase, 2,570mm.

The new model’s name is a reference to the Corolla Levin/Sprinter Trueno (1983-1987), commonly referred to by many enthusiasts as the 86. Akio Toyoda is hoping to see the car become a popular choice of tuners in Japan and elsewhere and to help to shift Toyota’s sensible shows image in certain markets.

Toyota Motor Europe will sell the Hachi Roku as the Toyota GT 86, while in the US and Canada, it is an open secret that the model will be badged as the 2013 Scion FR-S. Cars are due to reach all these markets during the second quarter of 2012.

Author: Glenn Brooks