Detroit Motor Show: Toyota FT-1

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A spectacular front-engined rear-wheel drive sports coupe concept is Toyota's star attraction at the 2014 Detroit auto show.

And you can drive it today – at least on your computer.

Revealed overnight Australian time, the FT-1 – or Future Toyota Ultimate - is intended to set the template for a new more emotional Toyota design language.

Mind you, it took a little longer than expected to appear as helmeted models struggled to fully open the giant box it was lowered onto the Cobo Hall stage in.

While labelled a concept and yet to be confirmed for production, the FT-1 is from today available for download into the latest generation Gran Turismo 6 driving simulator game.

Toyota’s designers at the CALTY studio in California have worked with the Gran Turismo team in secrecy for two years on FT-1.

Toyota global chief Akio Toyoda has already given the digital FT-1 the thumbs up, setting a faster lap of Fuji speedway on Gran Turismo than he has in real life in his Lexus LFA.

Toyoda is the driving force behind the FT-1 concept and 2012’s wildly successful 86 sports coupe, leading the company’s ambition to recast its image as sportier and more youthful.

Toyota announced only minimal information about the FT-1 in Detroit, confirming it is powered by a petrol-fed internal combustion engine, which sits under a partly glass bonnet.

There was no clarification whether the FT-1 would form the basis of the sports car Toyota has signed on with BMW to co-develop, which has been dubbed a modern-day replacement for the legendary Supra coupe.

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In introducing the FT-1, CALTY president Kevin Hunter said: "This is a symbol of Toyota’s design future.

"Beyond its obvious visual impact, FT-1 is symbolic of a new chapter for Toyota global design. This provocative concept captures the passion, excitement and energy of the Toyota we are evolving into."

Hunter admitted Toyota had traditionally designed cars using market research and internal consensus in an effort to produce a universally liked design. That approach had now been canned.

"Toyota’s design efforts are now less reliant on consensus," he said. "We have empowered our designers to develop a passionate vision for future mobility. The goal is simple yet profound; develop future generations of products that connect on an emotional level."

From its heavily sculpted, ducted Formula racing car nose to its retracting rear wing, the FT-1 certainly does that.

Inside the presentation is similarly minimalist, with a cockpit focussed on the driving experience that includes a coloured heads-up display and vital controls on the F1-inspired steering wheel.

By Bruce Newton
www.carsales.com.au

 

The current Toyota of choice for driving and modification enthusiasts is undoubtedly the 86 (or Scion FR-S for those in the USA). MRT have developed a huge range of products for these vehicles, and will continue to do so. Check out just some of what is on offer here.

Want to know about forced induction kits for the Toyota 86?

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