With this trio of concepts, Toyota wants to show a new generation of buyers that it still knows how to build sports cars.
Toyota is serious about building sporty, fun-to-drive cars that appeal to the heart, not just the mind. The company will travel to the upcoming Tokyo Auto Show to introduce three performance-oriented models developed to channel its illustrious past.
The Supra Concept will be one of the stars of this year’s Tokyo show. Presented as a close-to-production design study, the coupe will give enthusiasts an early look at the born-again Supra that Toyota is currently developing with BMW. Car & Driver has learned the model will borrow styling cues from the three-year old FT-1 concept instead of going retro.
An earlier report suggests the production version of the Supra will use the twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6 engine of the 2018 Lexus LS. More expensive models will benefit from a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain, though full technical details are still under wraps. Finally, an entry-level model with a turbo four will also be part of the lineup.
Show-goers will also see a modernized version of the S-FR concept (pictured) unveiled two years ago during the last Tokyo show. Tentatively called S-FR II, the two-door will boast an updated design that will closely preview the production model expected to arrive in a couple of years’ time.
Power will come from either a 1.2-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 116 horsepower, or a 1.5-liter four tuned to produce 130 horses. Neither figure is particularly impressive on paper, but it’s important to remember the S-FR will be one of the lightest — and smallest — coupes on the market by a long shot. Rear-wheel drive will be the only configuration available, but buyers will be asked to choose between a manual and an automatic transmission.
The S-FR is being developed as an entry-level sports car with the task of luring young enthusiasts on a tight budget into Toyota showrooms. Surprisingly, Car & Driver reports it might be sold in the United States in spite of its truly tiny dimensions.
Finally, Toyota will turn the Corolla into a world-class hot hatch capable of giving the Volkswagen GTI a run for its money. The sporty concept will be based on the new, 12th-generation model scheduled to debut later this year. It will share its modular platform with the Prius, and it will receive a 2.0-liter turbo four rated at 250 horsepower. Comprehensive brake and suspension upgrades will keep the cavalry in check.
The Tokyo Auto Show won’t open its doors until October. We’ll learn more about Toyota’s performance car offensive in March at the Geneva Auto Show when a 210-horsepower Yaris aimed right at the Ford Fiesta ST makes its debut.