Toyota FT-1 may enter production as next-gen Supra, thanks to new sports car skunkworks

The Toyota FT-1 concept that wowed audiences at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show may be closer to production than originally anticipated.

Australia’s Motoring reports that the FT-1 will – as many predicted – form the basis for the next Supra.

A confidential source told Motoring that the production car will resemble the FT-1, but that many of its details will be “softened” on the way to showrooms. That’s the case with most concept cars, which are meant to look good first and and be production-feasible second.

Two powertrains are reportedly being considered: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine from the upcoming Lexus NX small crossover, and a hybrid system featuring a 2.5-liter turbocharged V6.

It wouldn’t really be a Supra without rear-wheel drive, but according to Motoring the production FT-1 could get a rear-mounted transaxle for better weight distribution.

But wait, there’s more.

As if a production version of the FT-1 wasn’t good enough, Toyota has also reportedly started a sports-car division skunkworks, headed by none other than FR-S/GT86 chief engineer Tetsuya Tada.

In addition to the FT-1/Supra, this new skunkworks is rumored to be working on a smaller sports car that would sit below the Toyobaru GT86/BRZ/FR-S in the Toyota lineup, and would also feature a hybrid powertrain, albeit withe a 1.5-liter engine.

The FR-S is fairly basic, so it’s hard to imagine how Toyota could reduce things even further and still have a car that’s palatable (and big enough) for global markets.

There’ll be plenty of time to mull it over though, as neither car is expected to appear before 2016. Or maybe, not even then.

This isn’t the first time reports of a reincarnated Supra have circulated, so it’s easy to be skeptical. Still, the fact that Toyota built the FT-1 in the first place, and the positive reaction to it, are encouraging signs.

Product Review

Bigger battery and folding top add appeal, but BMW’s i8 remains ultra-niche

Want a high-performance vehicle that's more than just a frightening driving experience? Desire the look and feel of a sports car with the road manners of a luxury commuter? The BMW i8 is for you.

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.

Bentley Bentayga Speed surpasses Lamborghini Urus as world’s fastest SUV

The Bentley Bentayga Speed has wrested the title of world's fastest SUV from its cousin, the Lamborghini Urus. But the Bentley is just 1 mph faster than the Lamborghini. It requires 626 horsepower to achieve that top speed.

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.

2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Psychedelic Volkswagen Microbus from Woodstock returns for an encore

With its trippy paint scheme, the Volkswagen "Light" bus became a symbol of the 1969 Woodstock music festival. VW teamed up with the artist who created this rolling mural to stage a comeback in time for Woodstock's 50th anniversary.

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.