Subaru is known for its all-wheel-drive systems, but apparently, Toyota had its corporate eye on a different prize when it hatched the idea of building an affordable front-engine, rear-drive, 2+2 sports car: the low center of gravity inherent with a horizontally-opposed, or boxer, engine.
Toyota owns a 16.5-percent stake in Subaru, and tapped its partner to supply a boxer engine for its new FT-86 sports car, a modern homage to the iconic Corolla AE86. Introduced in 1983 and sold in North America in coupe and three-door hatchback body styles, our version of the AE-86 was called the Corolla GT-S. A lightweight, rear-drive, econo-sized pocket rocket, the Corolla GT-S was a blast to drive because it tended to oversteer rather than understeer, the former trait an inherent flaw in the Chevy Cavalier Z24, Dodge Omni GLH, Ford Escort GT, Honda Civic Si, and Volkswagen Rabbit GTI of the time. Unless you yanked on the e-brake handle, that is.
Fast-forward 30 years, and the Toyota FT-86 (known as the Scion FR-S in the States – front-engine, rear-drive, sport) picks up where the AE86 left off, but this time around it’s a genuine sports car rather than a sporty car.