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The Toyota FT-HS hybrid sports concept is set to make its debut at this month’s 2007 North American International Auto Show. Since Toyota has gone mad with Hybrid technology, its no suprise that this concept is a hybrid. Toyota says that the design team was assigned the task of creating 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?”

A very hard question to answer if you ask me!

Drivers today are not satisfied with cars that are simply fast. In addition to driving enjoyment, today’s drivers are concerned about safety, ecology and social responsibility.” said Kevin Hunter, vice president, Calty Design Research.

Now whilst I agree that a sports cars are not solely a sports car due to their speed and handling, its essential to point out that whilst other attributes make a better sports car, the basic formula does highly depend on the performance figures. Thankfully though Toyota are aware of this, and this sports concept doesn’t fail to deliver on the performance figures.

The FT-HS incorporates hybrid capability while maintaining sports car essentials, such as a sleek profile, lightweight aerodynamic materials and an advanced high-output powertrain for revolutionary acceleration and optimal performance.

This car is a great marketing tool for Toyota as it appears to a group of emerging buyers who grew up eco-conscious and perceive technology as a necessity, not a luxury. This two-plus-two concept is a front-engine, rear-drive sports car with a projected 0/100km acceleration in the four-second range. Brilliant.The acceleration figures are achieved through a V6 3.5-litre engine coupled with a sports hybrid system with a target power output of approximately 400-horsepower.

Toyota points out a great deal of design work that has gone into this sleek sports machine, especially in the doors and body style. The front and rear have been sculpted to remove mass around key functional components. Freeform geometrics define the integration of fluid surfaces and contrasting hard-edge “aero corners” which promote smooth airflow and reduce turbulence.

Toyota FT-HS Concept

Furthermore, the roof has a distinctive scooped-out section designed to reduce aerodynamic drag and provide head room at the key areas. Made from carbon fibre Kevlar, the roof retracts so that the roof panel and back window pivot fluidly in a downward motion to stow in the rear seat space.

The tail lamp unit spans the entire rear, and has an integrated retractable spoiler. Light-emitting diode (LED) clusters are located in the headlamps and the wing for energy efficiency and decreased heat loss. Other exterior features include a speed-activated wing that elevates at high speed for additional stability and traction. The rear showcases a carbon fibre lower diffuser with integrated wide exhaust and carbon fibre wheels.

However one of the coolest things about this concept is the seating. Its essentially a 4 seater sports car, but can quickly turn into a 2 seater when the roof is down.

“FT-HS redefines the sports car experience, not only with styling but also in function and performance,” said Hunter.

Its obvious that Toyota have put out an answer to their own question (What is a suitable sports car for the 21st Century?). No other type of information is available to suggest that any of the ideas in this concept will make it into an actual sports car, but chances are very high!

Toyota FT-HS Concept Vehicle Preliminary Specifications

DRIVETRAIN

3.5-litre V6 hybrid electric

DIMENSIONS (inches)

Overall Length: 170.27
Overall Width: 73.23
Overall Height: 50.79
Wheelbase: 104.33
Wheels: Carbon fibre

Tyre sizes:

Front 245/35R21; Rear 285/30R21




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