Usually we would have no reason to report on a concept that we've already seen debut. Hence, the Australian debut of Toyota's hybrid FT-HS sports car concept at the Melbourne Auto Show isn't really news. It becomes news, however, when a suit from Toyota Australia makes a veiled comment about the next Supra and its possible ties to the FT-HS. Peter Evans, corporate manger of product planning for Toyota Australia, said "To really appreciate the FT-HS, think of it as a 'Prius on steroids'. Alternatively, it could be a vision for a Toyota Supra of the future." Whaa?
Had this quote been given on the show floor amidst a throng of journalists, one might be able to pass it off as a slip of the tongue. The quote, however, appears in Toyota Australia's press release for the FT-HS debut down under, which can be read in full after the jump. This means it passed by the eyes of countless PR people whose job it is to vet press releases for embarrassing mistakes. This suggests that the quote is not a case of Evans opening his mouth and inserting foot, but rather was meant to be there, perhaps to whet our appetites, stoke our interest and get us all talking. Job well done, Toyota, because otherwise we would have completely ignored the umpteeth debut of the FT-HS in another country.
[Source: Toyota via Motor Authority]
TOYOTA SHOWS 'PRIUS ON STEROIDS'
Sports cars will thrive in the 21st century world of rising fuel prices and environmental responsibility, judging by a concept car unveiled today by Toyota Australia.
The FT-HS - which stands for Future Toyota Hybrid Sports - is a futuristic sports-car concept with a sleek, aerodynamic profile and a potent petrol-electric hybrid engine.
Its front-engine, rear-drive layout provides revolutionary hybrid acceleration and optimal performance with a projected 0-100km/h dash in the four-second range.
It also features the fuel-saving benefits and ultra-low emissions of Toyota's hybrid technology.
Toyota Australia's corporate manager product planning Peter Evans said the FT-HS is exhilarating to drive while having eco-friendly benefits such as impressive fuel efficiency and low emissions.
"To really appreciate FT-HS, think of it as a 'Prius on steroids'.
"Alternatively, it could be a vision for a Toyota Supra of the future," Mr Evans said.
"FT-HS shows what Toyota can achieve by combining its 50 years in motorsport with more than a decade of hybrid experience and development.
"The ability to enjoy the ultimate driving pleasure with a clear conscience makes FT-HS the ideal sports car for the 21st century.
"It will appeal to an emerging group of buyers who are environmentally aware and regard technology as a necessity, not a luxury."
Toyota is the global leader in hybrid technology, having sold more than one million units of the world's first mass-produced hybrid, Prius.
The new concept car mates an electric motor to a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, which is similar to that used in several production models.
Its combined power output target is about 300kW - or almost 50 per cent more than the V6 petrol-only engine in the Aurion family car, Kluger mid-size SUV, Tarago people mover and RAV4 compact SUV.
FT-HS was produced by Calty, Toyota's California research and design centre.
The centre set out to develop a mid-priced sports car that integrates ecology and emotion in a concept that addresses the question: "What is a suitable sports car for the 21st century?"
Australians can view the FT-HS concept on Toyota's stand at the Melbourne International Motor Show (29 February to 10 March).
TOYOTA FT-HS CONCEPT VEHICLE
3.5-litre V6 hybrid electric
Target output: around 300kW
Projected 0-100kmh time: mid four-second range
Overall length: 4325mm (170.27 in)
Overall width: 1860mm (73.23 in)
Overall height: 1290mm (50.79 in)
Wheelbase: 2650mm (104.33 in)
Tracks - front: 1600mm (63.0 in); rear: 1555mm (61.2 in)
Wheels: Carbon fibre
Tyres - front: 245/35R21; rear 285/30R21