Toyota, Lexus, Scion Connoisseurs

Is a Toyota 86 / Scion FR-S sedan derivative worthy of reviving the Toyota Altezza badge?

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As the final production iterations of the so-called “Toyobaru coupe” triplets (Toyota GT-86 [or, simply, 86], Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ) are finally rolled out for sampling by the world’s automotive press, the reviews are unanimous in their praise, and there is a clear consensus that the hard work of Subaru and Toyota engineers in kick-starting the revival of the no-frills rear-wheel-drive affordable sports coupe is, simply, too good to be confined to a single 2+2 two-door model. This author has long lobbied for a 2-seat roadster Lexus-badged derivative to rival the Audi TT, BMW Z4, Mercedes SLK and Porsche Boxster. Many others, however, have been moved to suggest (and render, as is evident in this article) stretched 4-door sports sedan versions of the new 86.

Speculation on an 86 sedan version hit a fever pitch back in autumn 2010, starting with Peter Lyon of Autocar‘s suggestion that Toyota made plans to spin a new small sports saloon (sedan to us Yanks) off the rear-drive platform as an “insurance policy” if the coupé never made it into production or failed to meet sales expectations. This author was certainly no stranger to the frenzy back then, penning related articles both for Kaizen Factor and my.IS, the latter shooting down Sam Mitani’s ridiculous notion that the “FT-86 sedan” would become the 3rd-generation Lexus IS.

In our Kaizen Factor piece, meanwhile, we mused that

…the notion of a 4-door sedan sibling for the FT-86 is a very tantalizing one as a “son-of-Toyota Altezza” (and Lexus IS 200), the Toyota brand’s last unqualified sport sedan hit.

Taking this one step further, if Toyota were, indeed, to build an 86-derived sedan, would it be worthy of bringing back the Altezza badge, not only in Japan but throughout the world? Please, no Scion-badging nonsense for this sedan in North America, they’ve already got their coupe. Given the number of Altezza-badged Lexus IS 300s this author sees as part of the active Florida my.IS / Club Lexus community, perhaps the world is ready for a proper sequel to the smaller, lighter and more agile 1st-generation Lexus IS for those who feel let down by the heavier and more luxury-oriented current 2nd-gen version. Or do you feel that there can only be one true, worthy, deserving Altezza, and that the notion of slapping that hallowed badge on a Toyota 86 sedan is almost sacrilegious? Perhaps the imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery trend of slapping “Altezza taillights” on all manner of old Hondas and beyond has tainted the name in your mind forever? How do you feel about this notion?

Illustration credits:
1) Theophilus Chin via Paul Tan’s Automotive News
2) Best Car

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