_TOYOTA _ has continued to live up to its promise to create cars that stir the passion with a convertible version of the popular 86 sports car to be unveiled at next month's Geneva Motor Show.
And while Toyota is calling the car a concept, given the success of the coupe there is little doubt it will become a production model.
It provided a further indication of its intentions by also revealing that it was conducting engineering assessments on prototypes of the convertible.
The only hint of how it will look was provided by a sketch, above, released earlier this week. However, on the WestWHEELS cover we have created our version of Toyota's first new convertible since the MR2 was launched way back in 1999.
Although no mechanical details of the car were given, it is unlikely to depart from the same set-up - a 147kW/205Nm 2.0-litre Boxer engine matched to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission - that has made the lightweight rear-drive coupe so popular.
It is also likely to have a soft-top roof as Toyota will want to keep the cost and complexity down.
The biggest challenge facing the engineers is to retain the same level of body rigidity in the convertible that has made the coupe such a good driver's car.
The reveal of the convertible comes more than three years after the original compact coupe concept was shown for the first time at the 2009 Tokyo motor show.
It will also give Toyota a direct competitor for the Mazda MX-5, the world's best-selling roadster over the past two decades.
An all-new MX-5, which will be built in partnership with Alfa Romeo, is expected in 2015.
Subaru hasn't made any announcement about a convertible BRZ but given the co-development of the BRZ and 86 between the two Japanese manufacturers, Subaru would likely be in a position to add the convertible as well.
It would not be the first convertible to wear a Subaru badge but open-top motoring has not played a large role in its history.
According to the Marque of Symmetry, the company's official history book, there was a convertible version of the Subaru 360 that was built in the early 1960s. The record also shows that one came to Australia.
The only other reference to a convertible was the 1961 Subaru 360 Sports that had a rag-top.
Subaru Australia chief executive Nick Senior said he was not aware of any development of an open-top BRZ and that there were no plans for one at this stage.
Expect the 86 convertible to go on sale in Australia next year, priced above the coupe's $29,990 starting point but well below the $47,710 sticker on the MR2 when it was last sold in March 2006.
271The biggest challenge facing the engineers is to retain the same level of body rigidity in the convertible that has made the coupe such a good driver's car.
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