Peter Nunn reports from the Tokyo show floor; picture gallery
18 January 2010

Walking the show floor at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon, Japan’s number one custom and tuner extravaganza, one thing soon became clear: the organisers had actually got the name wrong. This year it really should have been dubbed the "Toyota Auto Salon".

At a time when many cried off due to the recession, Toyota went the other way, putting in a huge commitment to this annual performance show.

Tokyo Auto Salon pictures

We had a stand chock-full of new and cool performance-orientated stuff and Akio Toyoda himself, Toyota’s new petrolhead CEO and the man behind the LFA, turned up and took part in a talk show.

With Toyota also launching a new ‘G' sports conversion series for Japan, there was no doubting the message: the firm really wants to connect with young Japanese enthusiasts and push the performance and 'fun to drive' bit.

On the stand, many eyes fell on the FT-86 G Sports Concept, a fresh version of the compact, rear-drive sports coupe that Toyota and Subaru are working on. This latest iteration of the ‘Toyobaru’ looks much sharper and sexier in the metal, and has found a turbocharger now to go with its 2.0-litre Subaru-flat four.

Then there was the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept, a startling remake of the old MR2 with 3.3-litre V6 hybrid power and four-wheel drive. It is a car that raises all kinds of interesting questions and possibilities.

Fancy a faster iQ or a driver-orientated Aygo? Toyota could oblige there too. Step forward the iQ GRMN + Supercharger Concept with a blown 1.3 litre and 97bhp at its disposal. The GRMN FR Hot Hatch concept was a reworked, 1.5-litre, rear-drive Aygo, the reasoning being that that’s more fun than a normal Aygo.

GRMN, by the way, stands for Gazoo Racing (Akio’s racing arm) with MN referring to Hiromu Naruse, Toyota’s master test driver.

Okay, so Toyota’s two Prius concepts were a touch, er, challenging, but the Lexus IS-F CCS, a track-day special with many carbonfibre bits, looked stunning.

Across at Honda, a bodykitted Sports Modulo version of the Insight held centre stage. Nissan revealed a Club Sports version of the 2010 GT-R, while Subaru relied on a small STi stage to showcase its new, domestic-market, 316bhp Impreza R205 (the next step up from last year's WRX STi Spec C).

In recent Tokyo Auto Salons, it’s been the Nissan GT-R that’s been the aftermarket favourite. This year, many went for the Prius (it is Japan’s best-selling car, after all). Cue dozens of dressed-up versions of Toyota’s eco-champ, some more tasteful than others.

In the dare-to-be-different department, I loved the fake Toyota 2000 GT Roadster built off a Mk 1 MX-5 chassis. A spectacular dragon-flavoured, rotary-engined Westfield was another eye-catcher, while a green bodykitted Subaru Forester from NATS was so ugly that it made the standard Forester seem like the Mona Lisa.

All this, plus the D1 Drifters powersliding around a special course outside, put the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon on the map.

But it was Toyota’s show, without doubt, and an intriguing electric version of the firm's classic Sports 800 roadster from the 1960s rounded things off. It showed that even the horsepower-heavy Tokyo Auto Salon can go green when it wants to.

Peter Nunn

 

Join the debate

Comments
2

18 January 2010

In the name of humanity!

I thought Subaru had reached the nadir of Forester ugliness.

Obviously someone is playing Top Trumps.

Where has all Japanese design went to?

18 January 2010

lol Zeddy, I know. That poor Forrester - they really should have left the cover on that one.

Really like the idea of the Toyota 2000 GT Roadster built off a Mk 1 MX-5 chassis.

I think alot more should be done in this same vein. Replicas of old classics built on modern chassis. Think it would make car buying alot more fun if you could just choose from a catalogue of old classic designs, but with the firm knowledge you have a great little modern chassis under it like the MX 5. I'd love a modern Rover P5 coupe, in black with the zinc coloured top and maybe the chassis and engine of the last gen Civic Type R, but with an auto

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK