After years of concept cars and teaser shots we now get to watch in awe as Toyota boldly steps out of its (rather bland) comfort zone with the release of its long-awaited boxer-powered, rear-wheel drive sports car.
These are the first official pictures of the GT 86 - the production version of the FT-86 concept that was first shown in October 2009 - released along with most of the juicy info just ahead of its international reveal at the Tokyo Motor Show later this week.
Aggressive looking, aerodynamic, light-weight, low-slung, driver-focused, rear-driven - yes we really are talking about a Toyota here and the best news is that Toyota SA promises it'll reach our shores not too long after its international roll-out during the first half of next year.
Look, it's no supercar on the performance front, its two-litre, horizontally-opposed, four-cylinder engine delivering just 147kW, but it does promise a very favourable power-to-weight ratio - Toyota hasn't disclosed the kerb weight yet but a previously leaked brochure states 1230 - 1250kg.
And there's also the very distinct possibility of hotter versions romping in with the passage of time.
Toyota shacked up with Subaru to create this engine, which is semi-high-revving - its maximum power pushed out at 7000rpm, while peak torque of 205Nm is wound out at 6600rpm.
While the 1998cc boxer engine is essentially a Subaru product, Toyota has added its D-4S injection technology, which features separate twin injectors for both direct and port injection and a rather high compression ratio of 12.5:1. This reportedly increases torque and power across a wide range of engine speeds, while still keeping it as efficient as possible.
Power is shoved to the back wheels, via a limited slip differential, by either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox, the former controlled by a short-throw lever and the latter linked to steering-wheel-mounted paddles.
Toyota also promises minimal intervention by the fun police, with the ABS and switchable stability control system “tuned specifically to deliver dynamic stability at the limit of the car's performance envelope with minimal electronic intervention”.
Further aiding the purist driving experience it promises, the sports car has a low centre of gravity, near-perfect 53:47 front-to-rear weight distribution, double-wishbone rear suspension and 17” rims.
Measuring 4240mm in length, the GT 86 is slightly longer than an Audi TT and seats four. Its exterior design is completely modern, curvaceous and aggressive - dare we say just downright sexy.
Granted, this is not the first time Toyota has created a rear-wheel drive sports car - its heritage stretching back to the 2000 GT of 1965, not to mention the Celicas and Supras of the '70s and '80s, but the real inspiration for the GT 86, says Toyota, comes from the Corolla GT coupe that was produced overseas between 1983 and 1987.