In a flash, the press day for the Tokyo Motor Show was done. It was a hectic day jumping from one unveiling to the next, but I’ll talk more about my experiences at my first “proper” international motor show in another post. Instead I’ll do a quick round up of some of the highlights from the 44th Tokyo Motor Show.
Just look at it. I don’t even mind that Mazda hasn’t released any spec or details about the chances of it going into production. I could happily look at this thing all day. In fact, I almost did as I went back to admire it every chance I could. Mazda haven’t officially said it but whispers around Tokyo suggest a possible production version appearing at the 2017 motor show and will compete against the likes of the Cayman and F-Type, the latter being the closest in terms of actual size. Of course a rotary will be under that long bonnet.
Of course being a Japanese show, the stars had to be domestic cars. The Honda NSX, finally appearing in Japan, wowed the crowds. And rightfully so. It’s a jaw-dropping, attention-drawing, fresh looking thing. With a total output of 573bhp/421kW from its twin-turbocharged V6 (VTEC-less I should add) and three electric motors, the NSX is every bit as cutting edge as a supercar ought to be. I want to have a go in one so badly.
Then there’s the Civic Type-R, a more realistic performance car from Honda. Thanks to a fancy new 2.0-litre turbocharged VTEC engine it develops a hard-hitting 276bhp/202kW. That’s not just impressive for a Civic but impressive full stop. This, the NSX, and the S660 prove Honda have their sporting mojo back. Now let’s see them put it in a FR roadster form again.
If you’re more of the eco-persuasion then the FCV Clarity might be for you. Honda was one of the pioneers of the FCV class of cars and now they finally plan to sell one to the Japanese public early next year. The FCV develops 134bhp/98kW and with a full tank of hydrogen it has a range of 700km. So Toyota and Honda will soon have fully functioning FCV cars on the market. Remember when they were the first two to have hybrid cars on the market 15 years ago?
Not to be out-FCV’d, Toyota’s posh division also brought along a fancy fuel-cell vehicle. The Lexus LF-FC is in many ways a change in direction for Lexus. Not only does the design hint at the next flagship LS sedan but it also show where Lexus are going in terms of technology too. This is the first FCV car from Lexus. The hydrogen fuel-cell will power three electric motors, one at the rear and two at the front. The fuel cell will be arranged int a ’T’ shape, similar to the battery configuration on the NSX. Lexus say the LF-FC is a rear-biased four-wheel drive. In terms of design, as it rolled out I did think it was some kind of Mercedes CLS rival. It’s a sleek, sporty looking thing that’s rather handsome too. Though I’m still not convinced by the spindle grille and the Toyota Mirai-esque taillights.
Perhaps more of a surprise than the Mazda RX-Vision, the Yamaha Sport Ride was met with a large ‘wow’ from those gathered around the Yamaha stand. Designed by Gordon Murray (yes THAT Gordon Murray), the Sport Ride is quite literally like nothing we’ve seen before. Because of the use of carbon-fibre it’s light, very light. Yamaha have a claimed figure of 750kg. Regardless of what engine they’ll decide to use in the production car (if there’ll be one), this thing will shift. If not well, at least it looks good.
How about a car that goes as well as it looks? Well, okay I haven’t driven the M4 GTS so I can’t back that up but when was the last time anyone said anything bad about the M4’s performance? The GTS model brings more to the party in the form of even more power, more downforce, and more aero bits. We’ve already covered the M4 GTS’s specs in another post so instead let’s take in that massive splitter at the front that looks like it could slice through most of Japan’s sashimi. The splitter distracts you from the controversial wing and wheels.
We’ve seen the GripZ before at Frankfurt but believe me when I say it’s a very handsome car. Not handsome enough for it to be worthy to replace the Z cars though, but still pretty cool looking. If this was the next Juke I’d queue up for one.
But interestingly, the IDS is supposed to be a preview of the next generation Leaf. Yeah, that’s not a typo. The IDS will eventually influence the next Leaf due within a couple of years. It looks good doesn’t it? Refreshingly modern and without trying too hard to look different (coughMiraicough). Because it’s a concept car it has to have some radical things so it has autonomous driving, as demonstrated when it drove on stage. Though Nissan does plan to gradually introduce this throughout its range.
To show the importance of the Japanese market to Porsche, they used the Tokyo Motor Show as the global launch of the Macan GTS and new turbocharged Carrera 4 range. The specs of the Carrera 4 are pretty much identical to that of the two-wheel drive Carrera except for the first time ever, a Carrera (the 4S) can get from 0-100 km/h in under four seconds. It also has GT3/Turbo inspired rear-wheel steering for that all important cornering speed.
Porsche now has GTS bingo. All Porsche models can be had with a ‘GTS’ badge on their boot. The Macan GTS adds 20 extra bhp over the Macan S, now 355bhp, and gets from 0-100 km/h in five seconds dead. Top speed is 260 km/h. To balance the extra speed, you also get upgraded brakes with carbon-ceramics are available as options.
An EV crossover concept, there had to be one. This is about Juke-size and will be powered by “next generation” batteries. Mitsubishi claims a full range of about 400km. It’ll also come with all-wheel drive, automated driving systems, and all the latest and usual tech you’d expect. Notably, the eX features Mitsubishi’s now corporate grille which will find its way across the Mitsubishi lineup in the near future. The eX is just one of several planned SUVs and crossovers over the next few years.
Anything called ’N-Attack’ will always get my vote. It’s essentially a GT-R with extra bits and pieces to make it lap the Nurburgring as close to its record 7:08 as possible. Why would you need it out on the road, who knows. Why does anyone need a phone that can store over 18,000 songs on it? Because as humans we always want more of everything, and I want more of that wing. How ridiculous is that!? The GT-R maybe getting old but it’s still very youthful.
From today’s GT-R to the GT-R of the future. The Vision Gran Turismo is even more outstanding in real life than it is in photos. This was my first VGT and I was not at all disappointed. In this matte red paint it looked like Darth Maul’s wheels of choice. I’m not sure if Nissan tucked it away in the back so that it wouldn’t draw attention away from the IDS and GripZ, but there were always a large crowd around it.
Toyota Prius, S-FR Concept, C-HR Concept, & Kikai Concept
The new Toyota Prius looks different but not as ugly as it does in photos. The C-HR is an interesting looking crossover concept and marks a first in this segment for Toyota and probably won’t look like this when it goes into production. Awesome, now on to the S-FR.
A small, affordable, rear-wheel drive coupe… What’s not to love? Well, it could look a bit nicer right? When I first saw photos I thought it looked like an extra from a generic anime film, but seeing it in person it looks rather cute. If you like that sort of thing. It reminds me of a puppy attack dog. It knows it’s small but still wants to take on things much larger than it. I reckon that’s what the S-FR will do in terms of fun. If Toyota can work the same magic they did with the 86 on this, they’re going to have themselves a winner. I don’t think the MX-5 should be worried. Instead it should be happy there’ll be more like it around.
Finally, from Toyota the Kikai Concept. Toyota didn’t have any of their other cars on display at their main booth. No Corollas, no Crowns, and no Camrys. The theme for Toyota this year was “What make you wow” (insert doge meme here). The Kikai is the perfect embodiment of this slogan. It literally makes you go wow. This is a bare bones (pun intended) idea of a car. The beauty of the inside is literally visible from the outside. So on and so forth.
Subaru WRX STI S207 & Impreza 5-Door Concept
I have to admit, the yellow paintwork and the big wing brought me over to the Subaru stand. And I’m glad it did because Subaru had some pretty cool concepts there. But first the S207. It’s a limited edition WRX STI with power boosted to 328bhp/241kW. Only 400 will be made, a quarter will be the NBR Challenge Package Yellow Edition you see here.
Foreshadowing the future of the Impreza was the good looking 5-Door Concept. This’ll be based on a new modular platform that’ll be used on multiple future Subarus. Like the the look of it? Well don’t get too used to it given Subaru’s history of good looking concepts and, well not as good looking production cars. Fingers crossed things will be different next time around.
Mercedes made bold claims about this being the “future of mobility” for the “Gen-Zs” and “digital natives” etc. But it sounded like a glorified taxi to me. It’s an autonomous EV that’s meant to transport its occupants around megacities in a “lounge”. Inside, and there’s no other way to phrase this, a sofa with a 3D hologram to control various apps. I’m surprised it didn’t come with a fat-free fair trade soy vegan non-fat latte with a sprinkling of coconut oil. Vision Tokyo or Vision take the fun out of driving? At least it has a funky grille.
Suzuki Mighty Deck & Air Triser
Ah, Suzuki. It wouldn’t be a Tokyo Motor Show without some weird kei cars. The Mighty Deck is a sort of high-riding lei-roadster, I’m guessing aimed at the Daihatsu Copen and Honda S660. Like all kei cars it’s powered by a 660cc 3-cylinder engine developing 63bhp. Remind anyone of the old X-90? Okay so it’s not a kei-car but it is a smaller-than-average van. I can’t help but see VW Combi though.
And last but not least, the Mini Cabriolet. Another world exclusive at Tokyo, the Cabriolet version of the new new new MINI looks as expected. It’s also bigger, more powerful, and cleaner than the car it replaces – again no surprises there. The roof operation takes 18 seconds. Because of its larger size, the new new new MINI cabrio has a larger and more usable boot too.
Okay, so the Audi R8 was launched some months ago but for some reason Japan has been quite late in receiving the second-gen car. So I probably don’t need to bang on about performance figures and weight reduction. Instead I’ll say that it looks much nicer in person than it does in photos, and the interior is freaking incredible. I remember the old R8’s interior as being rather, sombre. This new car is anything but. The Virtual Cockpit, the many buttons on the steering wheel, and the fit and finish made for a very high-class product. Not to mention the very unsupercar-like visibility and the comfortable seats. I was won over by the R8…
… Until I got in the Cayman GT4. I had wanted one of these for a long time, ever since I wrote an article about them on here. Surprise surprise the car on display was also in the my preferred colour; silver. I had to see what it was like behind the wheel. Unsurprisingly there was a queue to get in the GT4. Not because everyone wanted to see what it was like inside, its just the Japanese like queueing a lot. Anyway, once I got in it I immediately felt at home. Porsches are driver’s cars and it becomes apparent the moment your bum hits the seat and your hands touch the wheel. The driving position could not be more perfect, even if Natalie Dormer adjusted the seat for you.
There were many, many more cars at Tokyo this year so I’ll throw them in to the gallery for you to enjoy too. And keep an eye out for my next Tokyo Motor Show post where I’ll talk about the various experiences one can have at these sorts of things.