Toyota’s stunning FT-1 concept takes the Detroit Auto Show by storm

The 2014 Detroit Auto Show is underway and Toyota is taking it by storm. Today it released the FT-1 concept car, and all I can say is “wow.” This is a car that makes me have inappropriate thoughts.

Developed the Toyota’s Calty design studio and pitched to head honcho Akio Toyoda himself, the FT-1 represents the future of Toyota design. Akio Toyoda wants to build cars that make people say “I want this … I HAVE to drive this!”

In fact FT-1 stands for “Future Toyota One”. Okay, so the name isn’t great, but if this is the future of Toyota sign me up. 

According to head designer Alex Shen, “Function Sculpting” was at the heart of the design. The words might just be so much design clap-trap, but the result is that this car looks like it is ready to drive off the plinth and do a blistering track time. 

The proportions are absolutely classic sports car. I love that the hood is two-thirds of the length, and that the driver is almost sitting on top of the rear wheels. This thing just looks mean … and fast. In fact, from the side, the FT-1 reminds me of an SRT Viper and – trust me – that’s a good thing.

The front looks like it gets its inspiration from a Formula One car, with its aggressive protuberant nose. But its not all race car futurism, the headlights and the sweep back up the hood to a glass engine cover, are all classic sports car lines. It’s a stunning combination of aggression and sensuous style. And on this car the promise of speed doesn’t look to be an idle boast.

On the interior, the cockpit is surprisingly down to earth and focused for a concept, reinforcing the feeling that this is no mere show car. You get fancy touches like a heads up display and a steering wheel that has been hosed down with buttons, but mostly you get a racing driving position with excellent fields of vision.

Sitting here writing, I can’t tell you how much I want to drive this thing. I am willing this car to be the next Toyota Supra so hard my eyes are about to start bleeding. And there is hope that my mental anguish might not be for naught, because we know that Toyota and BMW are planning on building a joint sports car. Can it please look like this?

To get a taste of what the FT-1 is like, we don’t even have to wait that long because starting to tomorrow the car will be available for download in Gran Turismo 6. In fact the final part of the pitch by the design team to Mr. Toyoda was getting him to drive the FT-1 on his PS4, once he beat his real life time in a Lexus LFA he was sold.

Its all because this car is the epitome of Toyota’s new design philosophy: Waku Doki. Literally translated it means a palpable heart-pounding sense of excitement. After seeing the FT-1, I prefer to use a slightly more American spin: YEEEE-HAH!

First-look video

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