Filed under: Classics , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Toyota Was there a better time for Japanese performance than the 1980s and 1990s? It seems like looking back, Japan was on a roll, producing cars that were affordable, economical, reliable, fast and lightweight. And while all the attention is – thanks to a certain film series – focused on cars like Toyota Supra and Mazda RX-7 , there is a lesser-known model that’s establishing its own enduring legacy without the help of Paul Walker and Vin Diesel . The MR2 , affectionately known as the “Mister Two” to fanboys, first arrived in 1984 as a lightweight, mid-engined sports car that proceeded to eat the lunch of the Pontiac Fiero in terms of performance. That car was replaced in 1989 with the more familiar, rounded-out MR2, which is the subject of this latest video from the team at Petrolicious . The video takes a look at a group of MR2 drivers, and attempts to explain what it is about the car that is destined to make it a future classic. Scroll down to see Petrolicious examine the MR2 Connection. Continue reading Toyota MR2 shows why we still love the 1990s Toyota MR2 shows why we still love the 1990s originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Nov 2013 20:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Concept Cars , Convertible , Performance , Japan , Tokyo Motor Show , Toyota When last we checked in on our topless would-be hero, the Toyota FT-86 convertible had been reportedly placed on “indefinite hold .” That was back in early October, not long after Toyota had trotted out the rear-wheel-drive canvasback to Scion dealers as a possible future product carrot if they decided not to turn in their franchises. And yet, we’re here at the Tokyo Motor Show , where Toyota has taken the time to at least repaint the FT-86 Open Concept in “Flash Red,” if not build a whole other car (the original Geneva showcar was white ). It’s enough to make our heads spin like a teenager on the verge of a breakup. Will they? Won’t they? At this point, we still don’t know any more than you do – the last word we heard out of Toyota was not encouraging, although the story was that the program could still be fast-tracked if management had a change of heart. As the car has never been seen before in Japan, perhaps Toyota is merely extending its domestic audience a courtesy view before it lines this showcar in mothballs, or maybe they’re still trying to make a decision on its fate and gauging public reaction on the homefront. Interestingly, in a new story published today, Automotive News quotes Subaru brand boss Yasuyuki Yoshinaga downplaying the likelihood of a production model, saying flatly “We make the car, so if we don’t make it, it can’t happen.” The executive went on to note, “Our engineering department told me that losing the entire roof requires a complete redesign of the structure. It would need a big change.” Given that such a car would probably trade in rather small volumes, that sounds like a significant hurtle. Either way, this FT-86 Open Concept wears red paint rather fetchingly – and we think a Scion FR-S or a Subaru BRZ would look every inch as compelling, too.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Hybrid , Performance , Japan , Tokyo Motor Show , Toyota , Specialty , Design/Style , Electric Toyota is getting ready for the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, and to tease us, the Japanese automaker has released photos and information about the concept vehicles it’ll be bringing to the show. In all, there’ll be four world premieres from Toyota (five if you split the Voxy and Noah minivan concepts), including some vehicles that’ll be released in the near future, and others that need more time to incubate. Let’s get the world premieres out first. Toyota is a pioneer of gasoline-electric hybrids, but it’s also pursuing hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles. The clearest indication of this is the FCV concept , a hydrogen-powered sedan in the same vein as the the FCV-R that will bow at the auto show. (Read more about the FCV, here .) Other world debuts include the FV2 concept (pictured), a unique, one-seat future vehicle that emphasizes the “Fun to Drive” philosophy; the JPN TAXI concept , a next-generation taxi concept designed with Japanese hospitality in mind; and the Voxy and Noah concepts, next-generation minivans that differ most in exterior design cues and are scheduled to launch in the Japanese market in early 2014. The Aqua G Sports concept , based on the Prius C , will debut at the show and is a hybrid sports car that’s scheduled to launch in the Japanese market later this month. The i-Road , an electric trike that’s already been confirmed for production (check out our recent test, here ) will also be on display. We’ve been waiting for this next concept since the Toyota GT-86/Scion FR-S was launched, and we’ve already seen it in person , but Toyota will debut the FT-86 Open Concept again as a Japan premiere. Toyota says it “was created to explore future sports car variations,” and while it hasn’t changed since our last viewing, the car now wears a new paint color, Flash Red, which was created specifically for the auto show.
Filed under: Hybrid , Performance , BMW , Toyota , Luxury BMW and Toyota inked a partnership some time ago to develop green technology, and while we were excited by the idea of a reborn Supra with BMW’s carbon fiber reinforced plastic slashing the curb weight or an ultra-efficient, hybridized 1 Series, the joint efforts have been rather limited. That’s set to change, though, according to a report from Australia. Motoring reports that the partners have come to terms on a sports car. And not just any sports car, but a lightweight, hybridized model, with a six-figure price tag. Lending a bit of street cred to that idea is the site’s claim that Toyota is currently carrying out durability testing on the BMW i8 . According to the site, the new model will slot into the spot left by the Lexus LFA , although based on the language used, it’s unclear if this is the Tokyo-bound vehicle we mentioned several months ago . Details on this potential car are limited, although Motoring claims it will use a Toyota hybrid system mated up to a BMW gas engine – likely the 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8 found in the M5 and M6 . That sounds pretty amazing to us, but we’d still advise taking this with a grain of salt. What would you like to see out of a joint-venture supercar from Toyota and BMW? Let us know in Comments, and have your say on the prospects of a hybridized, twin-turbocharged V8.
Filed under: Aftermarket , Motorsports , SEMA Show , Sedan , Performance , Toyota , Racing We weren’t quite sure it was possible, but NASCAR driver Parker Kligerman and the other folks behind this Toyota Dream Build Challenge vehicle (check out the other cars in the challenge ) have made the Camry , a versatile but vanilla family sedan, into a performance car to be reckoned with. And by stripping it (literally) of its versatility and injecting some spice into it, this rally-spec Camry does indeed appeal to the enthusiast crowd. The appeal starts with the CamRally’s vintage Toyota racing colors of red, orange and yellow painted on a widened body. Those wide fender flares and rocker panels, paired with the revised front and rear fascias (and massive rear spoiler), lend the car an aggressive look without being tacky, and enhance the aerodynamics. But peel back the skin and you’ll find plenty of performance upgrades to back up the looks. While Toyota doesn’t say how much horsepower it makes, the CamRally’s V6 is turbocharged, and we assume the car’s brake upgrade is indicative of the engine’s increased output. The stripped interior only contains what’s needed for rally racing, including bucket seats, a motorsport steering wheel covered in Alcantara, a carbon-fiber dashboard and a roll cage. At 10:00 AM PST, the winner of the Toyota Dream Build Challenge was announced, and while the CamRally didn’t take top honor (the Let’s Go Moto Tundra received the most votes), it’s still a winner in our book. Head on over to the photo gallery to see the coolest Camry around. Toyota CamRally is vanilla spiced originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 05 Nov 2013 17:00:00 EST.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Hybrid , Performance , Japan , Tokyo Motor Show , Toyota , Specialty , Design/Style , Electric Toyota is getting ready for the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, and to tease us, the Japanese automaker has released photos and information about the concept vehicles it’ll be bringing to the show. In all, there’ll be five world premieres from Toyota (six if you split the Voxy and Noah minivan concepts), including some vehicles that’ll be released in the near future, and others that need more time to incubate. Let’s get the world premieres out first. Toyota is a pioneer of gasoline-electric hybrids, but it’s also pursuing hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles. The clearest indication of this is the FCV concept , a hydrogen-powered sedan in the same vein as the the FCV-R that will bow at the auto show. (Read more about the FCV, here .) Other world debuts include the FV2 concept (pictured), a unique, one-seat future vehicle that emphasizes the “Fun to Drive” philosophy; the JPN TAXI concept , a next-generation taxi concept designed with Japanese hospitality in mind; and the Voxy and Noah concepts, next-generation minivans that differ most in exterior design cues and are scheduled to launch in the Japanese market in early 2014. The Aqua G Sports concept , based on the Prius C , will debut at the show and is a hybrid sports car that’s scheduled to launch in the Japanese market later this month. The i-Road , an electric trike that’s already been confirmed for production (check out our recent test, here ) will also be on display. We’ve been waiting for this next concept since the Toyota GT-86/Scion FR-S was launched, and we’ve already seen it in person , but Toyota will debut the FT-86 Open Concept again, calling it a “world premiere.” Toyota says it “was created to explore future sports car variations,” and while it hasn’t changed since our last viewing, the car now wears a new paint color: Flash Red. Since the paint was created specifically for the auto show, we can only guess that this is why Toyota considers it a world premiere, unless we find out otherwise.
Filed under: Budget , Sedan , Performance , Toyota , Australia , Rumormill Sources in Australia are reporting that we’ll be seeing a small, rear-drive sedan from Toyota , based on the GT 86/ Scion FR-S . Yes, a convertible variant is still in limbo, but a four-door sedan is in the works. It’s unclear if the rumored GT 86 sedan would spawn Scion and Subaru variants (it’s hard to cross all ten fingers while you type, but we’re having a go). Working with remarks made by the car’s chief engineer Tetsuya Tada in his blog and a rendering from Japanese magazine Holiday Auto , the Australian site Motoring is claiming that the new model’s wheelbase will grow about four inches over the current GT 86′s 101.2-inch wheelbase. Besides the larger overall space between the axles, the sedan will offer a more potent engine option over the current 2.0-liter, flat-four. Promising 268 horsepower, which is a big jump over the current car’s 200 ponies, the new powertrain will be derived from the Hybrid R setup , shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show. If, like us, you’re reaching for the salt, and we don’t blame you. Motoring seems to think the new model will be available later in 2015 or early in 2016, with pricing that should be within reach of current GT 86 owners (around 30,000 Australian dollars, or $28,371). Toyota to offer sedan version of GT 86? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Oct 2013 11:15:00 EST.
Filed under: Concept Cars , 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show , Motorsports , Hybrid , Performance , Europe , Hatchback , Toyota Did you know that the Yaris is Toyota’s best-selling vehicle in Europe? That may help explain to us Americans why the car that’s lowest on the company’s totem poll here in the US got turned into an all-wheel-drive hybrid track monster for the 2013 Frankfurt Monster Show . Called the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R , this three-door pocket rocket isn’t just a hybrid making a lot of horsepower – it incorporates technology from Toyota’s TS030 Hybrid racecar that competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship series, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans . The Yaris Hybrid-R packs a 300-horsepower, turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood, which should be enough for most speed freaks, but Toyota pairs it with two 60-hp electric motors at each rear wheel (the same ones used in the production Yaris Hybrid that’s sold in Europe). That makes total system output an insane-for-this-size 420 hybrid horsies. But that’s not all, as the Yaris Hybrid-R forgoes the traditional battery pack below the rear seats in favor of a supercapacitor, which can both hold more energy and has a much faster power charge/discharge speed than traditional batteries. Paired with the supercapacitor is a third 60-hp electric motor/generator positioned between the engine and six-speed sequential transmission. Its job is to feed the super capacitor energy during deceleration and direct its power to the rear electric motors when more grip and oomph is needed. Indeed, the powertrain for this through-the-road hybrid is decidedly more high-tech and competition-spec oriented than the somewhat boy race appearance package suggests, though we dig the 18-inch TRD wheels wrapped in proper Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires and Recaro seats. And it’s not just a track warrior, as Toyota engineers have given it both Track and Road driving modes, though a track is the only place you would ever see the Yaris Hybrid-R’s potential fully realized.
Filed under: Sedan , Performance , Europe , Lexus , Toyota If you’re going to make a super sedan, you’d better do it in Germany. That’s where Audi , BMW and Mercedes-Benz do it, along with third parties like Alpina , Brabus and G-Power , among others. Deutschland is the epicenter of the movement, regularly churning out the most powerful four-door rockets in the world. It’s also where one of the racing divisions for Toyota has been hard at work on the TMG Sports 650 . Toyota Motorsport GmbH started with a Lexus LS and turned it into a 641-horsepower, twin-turbocharged super sedan it revealed late last year at the Essen Motor Show. But though we haven’t heard much about it since then, the team behind Toyota’s F1 and Le Mans efforts are apparently still hard at work on the project. Speaking with Lexus’ own UK blog, TMG chief Alastair Moffitt revealed that the project started way back in 2010, shortly after Toyota shut down its F1 program and left the racing team with nothing to do. The 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 was initially producing as much as 800 horsepower, but has since been refined to 650 so that it could theoretically be put into production and onto the road. That’s something TMG hasn’t done before, but is keen to start, positioning itself alongside Toyota Racing Development in the US and Gazoo Racing in Japan as an in-house tuning division which Toyota and Lexus could rely on for this kind of project. To that end, TMG has been testing its prototype at the N
Filed under: Concept Cars , Frankfurt Motor Show , Hybrid , Performance , Hatchback , Toyota Toyota has undeniably carved out a niche for itself as the industry’s leader in hybrid propulsion. What started out with the original Prius in 1997 has, over the past sixteen years, ballooned to what Toyota reports as a global hybrid portfolio of 23 models. But few (if any of them) are particularly exciting. That’s where the Yaris Hybrid-R concept comes in. Set to be showcased along with the rest of Toyota’s hybrid and fuel-cell lineup at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show next month, the concept starts with one of the Japanese auto giant’s least exciting models and upgrades it to more enticing territory. Toyota Motorsport GmbH – the same Cologne, Germany-based division that operated the company’s F1 team, currently runs its Le Mans program and gave us that bonkers 650-horsepower Lexus LS – has slotted in a version of Toyota’s new 1.6-liter Global Race Engine and paired it with a couple of electric motors for hybrid propulsion and through-the-road all-wheel drive. Like the TS030 Hybrid LMP1 , the Yaris Hybrid-R concept uses a super capacitor (instead of a conventional battery) to store the regenerated brake energy and give it upwards of 400 horsepower. That’s about all Toyota is revealing at this point, but this is the first time it has confirmed the project is based on a Yaris, of all things, and the confirmation comes with the solitary teaser rendering you see above. Check out the press release after the jump and watch this space for more as Frankfurt fast approaches. Continue reading Toyota gives up more information on Frankfurt-bound Yaris Hybrid-R concept Toyota gives up more information on Frankfurt-bound Yaris Hybrid-R concept originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 19 Aug 2013 17:58:00 EST.