The FT-86 II is the latest interpretation of the much-lauded FT-86 concept originally shown at the 2009 Tokyo motor show. But, as the design nears production (or – given Toyota’s reticence to name an on-sale date – should that be creeps towards?), the no-nonsense sports car from the Japanese automaker appears to be becoming much more compromised in terms of its design.
The original showcar had massive appeal – thanks largely to its elegant proportions and exquisite detailing, particularly in the interior. However, this latest variant is devoid of an interior and features a slew of what almost feel like Lexus LFA-referencing elements that have not transitioned well. At the front, the LED strips in the lower bumper are met by LFA-style headlamps, which aren’t as successful as the original, simpler units. Meanwhile, the gaping-mouth grille gives the car the appearance of something you’re more likely to find feeding close to the bottom of a murky sea-bed.
Fender blisters appear at the front and a pronounced air inlet adorns the bodyside. Yet more changes have been made to the rear, where the haunches appear just aft of the crude shoulder that disappears incongruously into the DLO. LFA-like taillamps also adorn the truncated rear end, whilst further addendum – such as a large, tuning-style decklid spoiler and an aggressive diffuser – shout its sporting intent. These are necessary as this latest version has even less tumblehome than the original.
The elegant lines of the original FT-86 didn’t require such ‘go-faster’ bits; the design was much more successful for the lack of them. This car may, perhaps, be more production ready, but the FT-86 II concept regrettably lacks the appeal of its Tokyo forebear. As such, it leaves us wishing that Toyota had left the design alone, and appears to prove true that – as far as FT-86 designs are concerned – less truly does equal more.