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Toyota has a long history of long gestations for its sports cars (remember the Lexus LFA's birth?). But today we can finally bring you the first pictures of the new Toyota GT 86 sports car, ne FT-86 concept car from back in 2009.

We'll see the GT 86 at the Tokyo auto show in the next week, with UK sales due in spring 2012.

What's with the new Toyota GT 86 name?

Pay attention. In Europe this rear-wheel drive sports car will be called GT 86, pronounced 'eight six', not 'eighty six'. In Japan, they'll call it simply 86.

As these first pictures prove, little has changed from the FT-86 concept car. And that's a good thing - this coupe looks taut and lithe, and can only have a positive effect on the Toyota range which has looked a little flair-free since the demise of Celica/MR2 and other sporting models.

The lights front and rear are different, but the overall stance is squat and planted. And check out that rear diffuser.

Toyota GT 86: the engineering story

The GT 86 is of course twinned with the Subaru BRZ, another Tokyo debutant. It shares the horizontally opposed four-cylinder boxer engine.

It's naturally aspirated and the GT 86 adds Toyota's D-4S direct injection to make its 197bhp at a high-ish 7000rpm and 205Nm at an equally raucous 6600rpm.

No performance claims have been issued yet.

Drive is sent to the rear wheels via a limited slip differential. CAR's Ben Barry drove an early prototype and found it a surprisingly sideways tool.

Inside Toyota's GT 86

This is described as a 2+2 and these first interior pictures reveal the interior. Pedals are drilled aluminium effect and Toyota proudly claims the 365mm-diameter steering wheel is the smallest ever fitted to its road cars.

Carbon-effect trim, black rooflining and red stitching transport you straight back to the 1980s. And if that means fun Toyotas you actually aspire to, we say bring it on!
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