If you want a small, nimble, affordable drop-top that’s fun to drive stoplight-to-stoplight, you’ve got one option in America — the Mazda MX-5 Miata. It might not have the manliest reputation in the business, but it’s actually the most popular amateur race car in the states — because true gearheads know it’s more fun-per-dollar than most anything else on the road. And it has no rivals.
Set to be unveiled at next week’s Geneva Auto Show, this is the Toyota FT-86 Open Concept — but everyone knows it’s not just a concept. This is surely the almost-ready-for-sale convertible version of the Scion FR-S/Toyota Ft-86/Subaru BRZ. And it’s about to punch the Miata in the throat.
Specs aren’t out yet, but there’s no reason to think it’s got anything other than the 197-hp boxer four in the hardtop version, though it’s likely a step slower because of all the bracing needed to make a soft-top handle well and stay safe in an accident. The interior of the concept is a step up from what you see in the current coupe, complete with a stylish iPhone holder and white leather everywhere — including on the steering wheel, which seems like a horrible idea. We’re betting the car that eventually hits U.S. lots won’t be quite so upscale inside.
It will, however, take the fight to the Miata in the sale department — and those two extra seats will be one hell of a selling point. We’ll bring specs and pricing after Geneva.