The Toyota NS4 concept has been unveiled at the 2012 North American International Auto Show. It features styling that will shape future Toyota and Lexus models, as well as a new plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Sharing similar dimensions to the Toyota Prius, the NS4 concept takes on an all-new styling approach. Cleans lines and a high waistline give it a solid stance, while a distinctive ‘arrow’ nose gives it a sporty and futuristic theme.
Although it is just a concept, Toyota says certain elements will inspire future production vehicles, including the next-generation Prius. NS4 project manager Tomohiko Shishido says it was developed as a Toyota Motor Co. concept though, and not a Toyota brand vehicle. This could also mean design cues will be seen on upcoming Lexus models.
Toyota says the NS4 uses a next-generation plug-in hybrid system, one that is made of lighter-weight, smaller components compared with today’s conventional hybrids. This will allow for improved economy and performance.
Inside, the NS4 showcases an innovative multi-touch interface which is capable of learning driver habits and preferences, and anticipate selections. The unit, Toyota calls it human-machine interface, has been designed to reduce driver distraction.
Other unique features include a low centre of gravity which has been made possible thanks to a low-mounted engine. Toyota Motor head of design Tokuo Fukuichi says the current Prius's centre of gravity is relatively high, and that the architecture behind the NS4 previews a first attempt to reduce it.
The Toyota NS4 also previews technologies such as anti-solar, anti-fog, anti-ultraviolet and raindrop-elimination thanks to partner supplier Asahi Glass Co.