• Sep 12th 2007 at 9:25AM
  • 25

Click the IQ for a high-res gallery including live shots from the show floor

Toyota's new mini-car concept, the IQ, was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show and we have some more details about it. The IQ is only 2.98 m long which makes it about a foot longer than the Smart ForTwo. While the Smart is strictly a two seater, the Japanese mini is advertised as a 3+1 seater. That means there are two seats that can be inhabited by adults in the front.

The asymmetrical dashboard design allows the front passenger seat to be pulled forward, allowing another adult and potentially a child to sit in the back hence the + 1. No information is available about what kind of drivetrain the car might include other than it's location at the front of the car. The IQ may go on sale in Europe as early as 2009 and would likely have an engine in the 1.0L range. The press release with the minimal information it provides is after the jump.

[Source: Toyota]

Toyota's revolutionary ultra-compact IQ concept
  • The intelligent solution to urban transport
  • Designed within the Vibrant Clarity philosophy
  • Less than 3 metres in length
The IQ concept represents a paradigm shift in small car design, a concept car that challenges conventional thinking of automotive hierarchies: small yet spacious, premium yet small. Realized through the vision of an ultra compact, highly space efficient, environmentally friendly vehicle that maximizes the urban lifestyle of Europe's fashionable metropolitan dwellers.

The IQ concept was created at ED2, Toyota's advanced European design studio in the south of France, working under the Toyota design philosophy of Vibrant Clarity – design that is forward looking, intelligent and energetic while retaining a clarity of purpose and function.

Managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation's Design activities, Wahei Hirai, says:

"The IQ concept is designed to reflect and enhance the lifestyle of its owners. In an urban environment, people want to express themselves through dynamic and on-the-edge design, but at the same time rational factors such as size, functionality and CO_ emissions cannot be ignored. Bringing these contradictory aims together in synergy was critical to the IQ concept, and is a way of thinking we call the 'J-factor', a philosophy at the heart of all our activities."

Just a palm shorter than three meters in length – at 2.98 meters precisely - the IQ concept is a radical new approach to vehicle packaging and design. It challenges the current limitations of ultra-compact urban transport by offering an interior capable of seating four or three adults and luggage space - a unique versatility within a minimal footprint.

The unveiling of the IQ concept also reinforces Toyota's commitment to reducing vehicle emissions through vehicle concept innovation. With increasing traffic congestion in urban areas, and rising concerns about vehicle emissions, the IQ concept presents a step change in vehicle packaging and footprint, to ensure a sustainable future.

Designed for fashion and function
ß Three elements of Vibrant Clarity
ß Dynamic and daring exterior
ß Functional and aesthetic interior
ß Edgy urban colour contrast

All aspects of the IQ concept are designed to convey a confidence, and vibrance that belies its size. All are working to give the car energy and character that will stand out and enhance its premium fashion position in the urban environment.

Within Toyota's Vibrant Design philosophy three core design values are utilized to guide the design process:

Perfect Imbalance in its proportion
The exterior is simple and daring with a stable and robust stance enhanced by the width of the vehicle contrasting with its short length. In side profile the ultra-short overhangs and cab-forward silhouette suggest a dynamic pose but at the same time interior space is kept to a maximum. The confident character of the front juxtapositions with the small, yet strong structure give the vehicle an iconic value.

Integrated Component Architecture
Expressing the structure and construction of the vehicle is vital to keeping the design simple yet at the same time energized, it also serves to clearly express the concept of the car. The structures around the 17 inch tyres form part of the minimal front and rear overhangs, a synergy that conveys both strength and agility.

In the interior the basic geometric structure of the instrument panel creates an open and wide environment. The manta-ray-styled centre console, a simple yet flowing structure that envelops the instruments to create a clear and vivid focal point. The air conditioning vents are constructed from a cylindrical form clearly relating to their function. The overall impression is of components in harmony, forming a new emotional expression.

Freeform Geometrics

The exterior surfaces of the IQ concept are almost mathematical in their cleanliness and precision, but at the same time have movement and emotion to keep the design fresh and unlikely to date. The character lines of the window opening flow smoothly and harmonize with the surfaces supporting them.

In the interior the freeform lines of the manta-ray-styled centre cluster are echoed in the door trim. Soft and inviting they encourage touch and contact, a combination of uncompromised aesthetics and functionality.

Overall, the IQ concept has a 'on-the-edge' style ready for the streets of tomorrow's urban environment. This sense of vibrant, urban sub-culture is carried forward by the unique exterior colour; pearlescent white with flecks of purple shimmer hinting at the darker interior treatment. The senses are further stimulated by the touch of the mock snake-skin steering wheel trim, purple interior accents and purple styling themes carried over into the seats, door trims and dashboard.

Compact but not compromised

ß Intelligent use of space
ß Versatile 3+1 seating
ß Fascinating blend of form and function
ß Full safety features

The IQ concept sets out to be, and succeeds, as the world's smallest four seat passenger concept car. At less than three metres in length (2980mm) it is 425mm shorter than the Toyota Aygo and more than 770mm shorter than the Toyota Yaris. Yet, in width and height (1680mm x 1480mm) it is comparable to Yaris – so the ultra compact exterior dimensions hide a big interior heart.

At the same time, the IQ concept is versatile and practical. It will seat four with space for three adults and a child – or the fourth seat can be utilised for luggage space. To achieve this, a radical and intelligent 3 + 1 seating concept has been applied. With a dashboard that swoops away from the front passenger, this seat has been given extra freedom of movement.

In regular use, driver and passenger sit side by side. But, to accommodate a third adult or adult and child, the front passenger seat can be moved in a more forward position allowing more room and easier access to the rear area.

In addition, extensive use of intelligent, space saving design themes and miniaturised technology helps maximise space within the passenger compartment. The ultra-compact heating and ventilation unit frees up space in the centre console and allows the dashboard to adopt its unique shape.

Atop the main dashboard sits the instrument pod, dark and mysterious with the swoops and curves of a manta-ray; its tail flashing in silver-chrome trim as it reaches down to form the cleanly-styled centre console. A single central dial provides control of interior environment with temperature and ventilation displayed on the central panel, clearly placed in the driver's eye-line.

The three-dimensional, 3-in-1 display of speed, engine rpm and fuel status is mounted above the steering column while controls for audio and navigation functions are on the steering wheel itself. In an intelligent, hi-tech solution to urban navigation, a stand-alone, head-up display of the GPS route-finder is placed within the driver's vision but is see-through when turned off.

A panoramic glass sun-roof ensures plenty of light and adds to the sense that passengers are not confined within a conventional compartment. At night, the darkened interior is mysterious – further emphasising the high fashion sense of the concept car.

Despite its ultra-compact design, it makes no compromises on safety in the urban environment. Indeed, safety is at the core of the concept strategy. A strong passenger compartment safety cell will ensure optimal impact energy absorption.

In presenting the IQ concept, Toyota reveals an intelligent new design and technology package - a radical solution to the challenge of personal urban transport. The IQ concept represents the ultimate refined urban mode of transport offering a revolutionary package, intelligent design, and environmental friendliness.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Would like to see in the U.S. I agree with earlier comment. Want a diesel that gets in the high 40 mpg. VERY NICE DESIGN.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can buy a smart for 12 grand so I can get two or three smarts for one IQ and the smart has the built in tire check so if I have a leaker i`ll know before it goes flat.BUY NEW TIRES before wearout at about 40,000 and you`ll be just fine.The tiny triple double overhead cam 10/1 smart clean burn high test USA model is GREAT and the only beef I have is it`s gutless you have to STOMP WAY WAY down to get reaction but you can steer out of most rundown~SS.HYGEN FUEL CELLS? or fake clean burning fuels will make batterys a junkyard car hybreeds suck even worse freeze up meltdowns.I can get 90 MPGs on a 1970 honda 360 for 300 bucks or 50 MPG in a 1980`s GEO for 300bucks save your money until the new clean fuels hit the markets than you can drive that old smitbox again.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If Toyota put so much effort into compacting a 4-seat vehicle into such a small form factor, why did they put those ridiculous 215/45-17" wheels on it? That it is a sop to the demands of contemporary auto fashion is clear. Ratan Tata kept his engineers focused on the task at hand, thus the Nano has more reasonable 12 inch rims (and still has 7 inches of ground clearance) and true 4 passenger seating on the same body length as the Toyota IQ.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If it's like the Smart car and has no spare tire,jack,etc., it will most likely be a flop in the US.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hopefully Toyota will bring the IQ to the US market to compete with SMART. And, hopefully it will not require PREMIUM FUEL as the SMART does!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am thinking with Subaru releasing the Re1-rumored japan 09' and Zenn motor car company coming out with the Zenn city also 09', this would be a good platform to launch into the EV sector. By offering EV model. I wonder out of the all the auto manufacturers who is going to take the plunge into the EV sector in north america?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Post #17 quote: "Lithium batteries weigh about 20 pounds/kWh. So if you want a car that goes 120 miles you need 800 pounds of battery"

      The Tesla Energy Storage System, combining batteries, case, battery regulation and safety features, weighs in at 900 lbs, but manages to propel the Tesla Roadster for 220 miles or more. Would an extra hundred pounds make that much difference? The Tesla ESS stores 53 Kwh, or 16.98 lbs per Kwh, quite a bit below 20 lbs. There are a lot of different LiIon batteries available, Tesla is using a high energy density version.

      Quote: "Typical cars also get about 3 miles/kWh, so that's about 3-5 cents a mile for electricity."

      Typical SUV, maybe. Tesla Roadster uses about 240 wh per mile, or just over 4 miles per Kwh, more highly streamlined EVs can do about 5 miles per Kwh, some NEVs nearly 6.

      Quote: "Remember, the hybrid component gives you no benefit except when you brake, so for those who do mostly smooth hwy driving neither a PHEV nor an electric car make sense until gasoline approaches $10/gallon"

      Still repeating that old hybrid myth? There are several hybrid efficiency advantages: Engine shutoff/autostart, limited EV only driving, Atkinson/Miller cycle engine, maintaining IC power and RPMs near optimum levels regardless of vehicle speed, the use of smaller more efficient IC engines (electric motor adds extra power when needed), and regenerative braking. All of those apply during hiway driving - yes, even regenerative braking. Fact is, hybrids do get excellent fuel milage on the freeway.

      Since a PHEV can drive many miles on far cheaper electricity, it makes economic sense to drive electric whenever gasoline prices are above 70 cents a gallon.
      • 4 Years Ago
      YEGGIE OIL burning in some old benz?less carbons! the day of CLEAN FUELS is about here as fossil fuels are used by more people the cost affectiveness of man made clean fuels will leave the toxic batterys behind and will harness even those old benz and collected autos.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I want one but electric please!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Most of my info comes from the UCBerkeley alternative energy conference I attended March 1-2. It included a Nobel Laureate.

      I spoke for about five minutes with the lithium battery researcher, Venkat Srinivasan, Phd, and we went over the cost figures pretty carefully. 12-14 cents/ mile is indeed what it costs to use lithium batteries based on a car that gets 3 miles/kWh. http://eetd.lbl.gov/newsletter/nl27/eetd-nl27-1.html.

      Of course better designs, the principles are lighter and slower, will achieve better results across the board, ICE, PHEV, NEV, etc. That's why I ride an 80-pound, 80-mile/kWh electric bike in place of a car, particularly in place of $100,000 Tesla.

      Infinite permutations of lithium batteries are possible, each one a compromise between energy density/weight, power density, explosiveness, longevity, durability etc. I don't know what lithium batteries Tesla uses but your "16.98 pounds/kWh" sounds pretty much like my "20 pounds/kWh." So it is likely that Tesla will be giving up some longevity to get better density/lightness, 680 pounds vs. my 800 pounds. The proof would come from independent testing. Can you post some?
      Also, lithium batteries cost $500/kWh, in quantity, according to VS. That means that at current prices a replacement set for the Tesla costs $26,500. What guarantee is Tesla offering as to battery longevity? If it is 100k miles that works out to $0.26 cents a mile, not including the electricity. Ouch. You cannot leave out the cost of battery expenditure, hybrid costs and amortization.

      Some of the technologies you mention are not related to the hybrid power train. But cutting to the chase, when you research the 1-liter, 70hp Toyota Aygo (very similar to the iQ), sold in the UK, you'll find that it gets better hwy mileage than the Prius. Better hwy mileage, $10,000 cheaper.

      So, yes, we need much lighter cars. We need cars to go slower. We need e-bikes. We need 30mph NEVs We need PHEVs. We need people to travel 4 or 5 to a car rather than the average of 1.4. PHEVs will become economically viable at some future price depending on the assumptions in your calculations. Some say as low as $6/gallon. (Next summer?). We could accelerate the move to environmentally sound transportation by taxing up the price of energy, particularly oil.

      • 8 Years Ago
      I can AVERAGE 45-50mpg in a Toyota Yaris sedan, which weighs 2500lbs, so this tiny car should easily get WAY over 50mpg, and more like 70-80mpg with a turbo-diesel. We need more cars like this. Thankfully, it seems they are finally coming.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Another awesome mini-car. . .

      Lets see the chances of this ever being sold in the States. . . HEY! What do you know the chances have been raised to .005% instead of the usual .003%.

      Maybe. . . just maybe.
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