The next Scion xB?

Autoblog reader JJ sent us over a link to Toyota's Japanese site, where they've got the new production-version Toyota bB, North America's Scion xB, up online. (The bB minisite is all-Flash, and it's got to be seen - and heard - to be believed.) Toyota calls the new bB "a car-shaped music player" with nine speakers strategically located throughout the vehicle to maximize the aural experience. It also carries over the element from the bB concept at Tokyo that we all thought was so cool -- lights that flash in time with the music to create a nightclub feel.

The Japanese-market bB comes in six versions, with various combinations of 1.3- and 1.5-liter engines, front wheel drive or four wheel drive, and trim packages. Toyota is also offering a full line of customizing parts. It goes on sale in January. More specs and pics of basic and customized versions after the jump.

[Source: Toyota]

Toyota Press Release (excerpts)

The new bB retains the strengths of the previous bB and strives to embody the lifestyle of people who want to be surrounded by music everywhere they go, adopting the development theme of "A Car-shaped Music Player" to satisfy the preferences of the younger generation.

With an emphasis on "sound", "illumination", and "relaxation", the new bB seeks to create an interior space in which one can be completely immersed in music.  To achieve this, the bB incorporates an audio system that uses the latest in acoustic technology and features interior lighting that flashes in rhythm to the music, while newly developed front seats help create a sense of privacy.

A Creative Interior, Equipped to Enhance the Joy of Music
  • With an emphasis on "sound", "illumination" and "relaxation", the new bB nurtures an unprecedented feeling of relaxation and establishes a creative interior space for the enjoyment of music.
  • The instrument panel employs a large and smooth, stadium-like shape with a subwoofer in the center console and tweeters on both sides, forming a space akin to an enclosed DJ booth.
  • Nine speakers are optimally located around the interior—a subwoofer in the center console, and speakers and tweeters in the left and right front doors, instrument panel and front pillars—creating powerful bass tones and the feeling of being surrounded 360 degrees by music in a high-quality sound space.
  • Four different audio modes, using surround DSP (digital signal processing) technology, accommodate listener preferences and the situation at hand.
  • An input jack facilitates a direct connection with portable music players to input music from a variety of sources.
  • Illumination is installed in 11 locations, including around the speakers, and in the cup holders and door trim, and it flashes in rhythm to the music, creating an atmosphere akin to a nightclub or live music concert.
  • Three kinds of illumination modes are available to choose from, to accommodate one's personal preferences and the surrounding environment.
  • The newly developed "Mattari-mode seats" ("laid-back" mode seats) in the front not only recline, they sink about 80mm to create a couch-like feeling.  This delivers an unprecedented feeling of relaxation and privacy.

Individualistic Styling that Appeals to Youthful Sensibilities
  • Based on the Toyota-brand design philosophy "Vibrant Clarity," an all-new, three-dimensional structure and surface expression are adopted to craft an individualistic form.
  • The door profile and front and rear of the vehicle feature contours that create distinctive shadows.  The high character lines that form an arc from the front to the rear express a "sensually edgy attitude".  The unique hatchback creates a "wild" atmosphere with a strong sense of presence to express the identity of the bB.
  • Although the overall length has been shortened, the wheelbase is extended to create an interior space like that of the previous bB, and there are numerous, highly functional storage spaces.

Brisk Driving and Comfortable Ride
  • Brisk and comfortable driving performance and fuel economy are achieved through the use of a newly developed 1.5-liter VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent) engine or an improved-output 1.3-liter VVT-i engine and a smooth and responsive, super-intelligent, four-speed automatic transmission, or Super ECT.
  • Despite a longer wheelbase, wider wheel tread and wide tires, the minimum turning radius is just 4.9 meters (0.6 meters less than the previous model), greatly improving maneuverability.
  • Body rigidity has been increased and vibration-controlling and sound-blocking materials have been optimally installed in various parts of the body to reduce engine noise while driving and vibration while idling.

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