The Toyota FT-1 concept has been created by Toyota's Calty design facility in California, and shows off the company's new design direction
Jim Holder
13 January 2014

The Toyota FT-1, a sports car inspired by past classic Toyotas such as the Supra, has been unveiled at the Detroit motor show. The vehicle marks the start in the new chapter of Toyota design philosophy that will result in more passionate, exciting vehicles.

The car is described by its maker as "a true enthusiast's track car in the lineage of the 2000GT and Supra". The name FT-1 stands for 'Future Toyota', with the number one representing "the ultimate world-class sports car with the ultimate performance envelope".

Although Toyota won't be drawn on technical specifics of the FT-1, company sources did confirm that it has a combustion engine only, with no hybrid system. Performance from the engine is described as "high output".

The FT-1's front engine/rear-wheel drive configuration allows the cockpit to sit further towards the rear of the car, within the wheelbase, helping to improve weight distribution and creating classic sports car proportions. The wraparound windscreen and side glass arrangement are a clear nod to the design of the original 2000GT.

The cockpit is described as a "delta-shaped display zone. This helps to make the driver feel at the heart of the action, fully connected to the car". It features a Formula 1-inspired steering wheel and a colour head-up display that projects key information just above the wheel.

The FT-1 was conceived at Toyota's Calty design research centre in California. Calty president Kevin Hunter said the philosophy behind the car marked a radical change in the way Toyota's products are designed. "Not long ago [Toyota boss] Akio Toyoda challenged his designers to create cars that sparked people's emotions," he said. "Cars that make them say, 'I want this, I have to have this'. His message has always been very simple: make it cool. Toyota's designers are absolutely passionate about designing cool cars. Our goal at Calty was to answer that challenge by creating a truly exciting, high-performance halo sports car.

"Beyond its obvious visual impact, FT-1 is symbolic of a new chapter for Toyota global design. This concept truly captures the passion, excitement and energy of the Toyota we are evolving into. It embodies elements of the emotion and performance that we will imprint upon future production designs.

"For many years Toyota has approached product development relying on a strong influence from the market through consumer studies and a degree of internal consensus. The goal was to produce a vehicle that was liked by everyone. As a result, we took less risk and tried not to stray too far from designs that had been a success.

"Now Toyota's design efforts are less reliant on consensus. We have empowered our designers and engineers to make a creative and passionate vision of future mobility. The goal is simple yet profound: develop future generations of products that connect on an emotional level. As a result of this new global commitment, we expect to develop the most capable, exciting generation of vehicles the company has ever produced."

A Toyota source told Autocar that the FT-1 is not part of the Japanese manufacturer's collaboration with BMW; that tie-up is for hybrid sports car projects only.

The Toyota FT-1 will be added as a download to Gran Turismo 6 from tomorrow. Company chief Akio Toyoda's first-ever look at the FT-1 was via the virtual version in the computer game.   

Read more Detroit motor show news.

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14

13 January 2014
That is a nice alternative to what a Japanese supercar should look like, not just the bluff GTR.

All we need now is for the this to get a full green light, the RX7 replacement to get made and the new NSX and you will have a re-run of the mid - late '90's Jap supercar battles.

It feels like 1997 all over again!

13 January 2014
Is it just me or does the nose treatment look similar to a proboscis monkey? I love the idea of a 'new Supra' but not looking like that. The original was never a stunner but this is just hideous from so many angles.

13 January 2014
I really like the design of this. Much better than the muted efforts that came before. Can they get it to the road looking like this though? And will it be priced below, say, a basic Caymen...?

13 January 2014
This thing looks like an aggressive gruyere slab on wheels. Simplicity and cleanliness, where have you gone?

14 January 2014
I'll be driving one of these tomorrow so will see if I can find out the drivetrain specs, derived from performance.
On GT6 that is.

14 January 2014
disastrous front...nice rims

IAD

14 January 2014
I can see what the designers were trying to do with the front and I like it but it just looks out of place. There are some nice detailing which I suspect will be used in the production model.

14 January 2014
From the test I did I can see it's a turbocharged engine. lightweight build, With about 450-460bhp. And by the look of the torque graph a 3.0 capacity, perhaps to echo the old Supra.
It hits the rev limiter at just over 8000rpm in 6th at 183mph, but it could go faster.

14 January 2014
Ugly nose but wonder if it's hiding some concept powertrain with the large exposed fans?

IAD

15 January 2014
C2_Matt wrote:

Ugly nose but wonder if it's hiding some concept powertrain with the large exposed fans?

I think those large fans also assist in the cars aerodynamics called "Fan Assisted Ground Effect Aerodynamics" which basically moves air quickly under the car to reduce the pressure in order to suck the car onto the ground. Sorry to be such a geek

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