Japan has certainly been serving up the exotics on this Tokyo motor show trip. First we got our initial drive in the Honda NSX, a £120,000-plus supercar with hybrid technology like no other. Now Mazda has arguably stolen the Tokyo show itself with the RX-Vision, a car that appears to have set new records for individual story traffic on Autocar.co.uk (and at the dead of night in the UK, too).
Still, if you’re after something more mainstream then you’re probably drooling over Toyota’s S-FR, a baby sports car with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, rear-wheel drive and a six-speed gearbox. Japan has a history of producing baby roadsters (think MX-5 and S2000, or even Toyota’s old MR2), so it stands to reason that the S-FR should make a great stablemate to the GT86 in the company’s global line-up, right?
I’m not sure. It’s tiny, the S-FR - not quite kei-car dimensions, but surely not too far off them. And it is unmistakably, unapologetically Japanese, with styling that borders on the cute. And that gaping mouth of a grille; in the lurid shade of the show car, it looks like a bemused toddler in a dayglo vest.
That doesn’t mean I don’t like it, by the way. It will fit in beautifully in Japan and Asian markets when Toyota does decide to build it. But for the UK, much like Honda’s S660, I fear the S-FR may be better suited as an oddball curio on the grey import market than a fully fledged model sitting in an official dealership in Yorkshire.
It’s brilliant - but I’m not sure enough of the people in the UK who want a miniature rear-drive sports car would buy it.