Among the concepts Toyota has revealed at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, the S-FR and the Kikai are sure to appeal slightly more to the auto enthusiasts among the throng of visitors. That’s because both are made or designed in a way that will cause passions to flare up among automobilists.
The S-FR is a concept that the company has designed to attract its own cult following. A concept as of now with a high probability of seeing production, the compact sportster is expected to carry on the company’s heritage of lightweight fun-to-drive cars as an entry-level model.
The exterior has rounded looks and gets a long bonnet, wide tracks, short overhangs, prominent wheel arches and a subtle rear spoiler. The face is dominated by a huge gloss-black mesh grille that gives the car an angry look upfront. Toyota says that sports car is a four seater having dimensions of 3,990 mm, 1,695 mm, 1,320 mm and 2,480 mm in length, width, height and wheelbase respectively.
The manufacturer mentions in the press release that this car is designed to make a whole generation of young people fall in love with driving; and I think that’s possible. My assertion is based on the fact this is a rear-wheel drive car with the engine mounted in a front midship location. Add to that, the weight of the car being just 980 kg, and powered by a 1.5-liter naturally-aspirated four cylinder petrol engine churning out 130 hp sending power through a 6-speed manual gearbox. In my book, these attributes are enough to qualify this as a pure driver’s car. Not happy yet? Throw in an independent suspension setup to the mix, and you get a car that should be able to carve corners in a way that will put a big smile on anyone’s face. Keeping my fingers crossed to see this one on the production line.
Toyota S-FR – Image Gallery
Another example of what automobiles really are. This one might not be as performance oriented as the S-FR but it provides satisfaction in a different way. The ‘Kikai’ in Japanese means ‘Machinery’ and that’s exactly what this concept is all about. As Toyota puts it, the Kikai “encourages us to appreciate the beauty of the physical and the tactile in this digital age.”
The exterior design of the Kikai is what’s hidden underneath the sheet metal of modern cars. Every part and component that makes an automobile is laid out for display. From engine, suspension, exhaust, steering, brakes and even tires, all can be seen functioning in their full glory. The concept is capable of seating three occupants and has dimensions of 3,400 mm in length, 1,800 mm in width and 1,550 mm in height, with a wheelbase of 2450 mm.
The three seats are placed in a triangle shape with the driver’s seat placed centrally and ahead of the other two seats. The cabin is just as revealing as the exterior with large windscreens and door windows. There is also an additional window located at the lower front section. Through this window the driver can see the working of the suspension as well as the tarmac racing underneath him. Toyota says that this unique view when combined with the feedback from the steering wheel leads to a novel driving sensation, I bet it does. In keeping with the retro theme there are no digital displays inside the cabin and all controls have to be operated manually.
It might not be a technological marvel, but the Kikai is clearly a refreshing display that reminds us the very basis of the machine we call automobile.