GLOBAL REVEAL OF TOYOTA 86 SHOOTING BRAKE CONCEPT
Toyota Australia has unveiled a global first - a dramatic new "Shooting Brake" concept version of the 86 sports car.
The prototype was conceived and developed by Toyota Australia's Product Design team and hand-built in Japan under the direction of the global sports car division.
The Shooting Brake concept, which adds a more practical hatch styling to the rear of the sporty coupe, has been revealed to the world in Sydney by the Toyota 86 global chief engineer Tetsuya Tada.
Toyota Australia divisional manager national marketing Brad Cramb said the unusual "shooting brake" name referred to a stunning design that gives the four-seat sports car a unique flavour with more rear head room and luggage space.
"The Toyota 86 lends itself perfectly to a concept that expands its appeal with added versatility while retaining its sleek and sporty coupe styling and sharp, responsive driving character," Mr Cramb said.
"The Shooting Brake concept is a classy option for active couples or a second car for families who want something different. Equally suited to weekends away as well as the track, it's a car you could buy with your head and your heart."
Tada-san said he was inspired to support the project when shown a one-quarter scale clay model during a visit to Australia in November 2014.
"I was totally surprised - and I liked it so much I arranged for my expert takumi prototype craftsmen to hand-build the Shooting Brake concept based on the Australian design," Tada-san said.
"The concept car is a fully functional, driveable vehicle that has been put through its paces on Toyota test tracks.
"The nicely weighted and direct steering of the 86 ensures the car retains the involving drive experience of the coupe with a slightly more neutral feel in tight corners on a driver's favourite road."
Tada-san said Toyota wanted to gauge reaction to the concept, although it was conceived as an internal design study and there were no plans for production.
"While we never say never, and I would love this concept to become a production reality, it is very much a concept that demonstrates the passion within Toyota for cars that are fun to drive."
Toyota Australia's design chief Nicolas Hogios said his Australian design team engaged in enthusiastic debate about the extent to which they should make changes to the 86 coupe, eventually remodelling only the rear quarter and roof.
"Like kids in a lolly shop, we thought about restyling more of the car; however, like a good parent saying 'no' to too many sweets, we made the conscious decision to keep as much of the original 86 as possible, only changing what was absolutely necessary.
"The silhouette is still sporty, taut and energetic, but it's more practical as it allows the roof to be used to carry surfboards, bikes or storage pods for a weekend away while the larger opening of the new boot enables much easier loading.
"As a result, we have expanded the appeal of the coupe while intentionally retaining the purity of the now-iconic 86 style," he said.