One normally doesn’t speak of sports cars and environmentally-friendly automobiles in the same breath. ButToyota is betting there’s a green side to performance, as it plans to demonstrate at the upcoming Detroit auto show with the debut of the FT-HS Hybrid Sports Concept.
Aggressively angular, the 3D simulation released by the Japanese automaker – a running prototype is expected to be ready in time for Detroit’s North American International Auto Show – is the latest creation from CALTY, the automaker’s California-based advanced design studio. The 2+2’s sharply raked nose and wraparound ground effects are designed to be more than eye-catching. As with the Toyota Prius, the impact is on aerodynamics, allowing the FT-HS to improve both acceleration and fuel economy.
Think of it as “a sports car for the 21st century,” suggests Kevin Hunter, vice president of Calty Design Research, with the FT’s form heavily driven by function.
Under the digital hood, the FT-HS features what starts out as the same 3.5-liter V-6 found in another hybrid, the GS450h, sold by
Measuring 170.3 inches, with a 104.3-inch wheelbase, the FT-HS has a footprint of roughly the same size as the current Lexus SC430 convertible. Expect a large amount of that space to be gobbled up by the hybrid drive package, notably including the battery pack.
The sharply sloped roof is actually a retractable hardtop, though rather than folding up, like metal origami, into the trunk, the roof slides back and then drops behind the front seats. That effectively turns the Hybrid Sports Concept into a two-seater, but from what we can see, the back buckets wouldn’t have been very functional, anyway.
In Toyota-speak, the general design theme can be described as “Vibrant Clarity.” There’s a visible tension to the look, which Hunter suggests has “perfect imbalance…dynamic yet stable.”
Coming at you, you’re likely to notice the channeled hood, which exposes the hybrid powertrain. The equilateral triangle shape that dominates the HSC’s exterior is echoed in the passenger compartment, which Hunter calls “Solo Space,” with its focus on the driver. The overall look is likely to take many
Will they build it? Like many of its competitors, the marque has been using the auto show circuit as a way to tease the public and gauge reaction to its increasingly distinct designs, both for the Lexus and
The GS450h gets near-V-8 numbers out of its mid-size six-banger. But whether the HSC could push things up another notch is uncertain. It would likely require even more sophisticated hybrid components, with the emphasis on the battery pack. Lexus, like everyone else, is desperately searching for high-powered – and reliable – lithium ion cells. As the flaming Sony laptop underscored earlier this year, the technology is still a work in progress.
But there’s little doubt that if anyone can push the technology limits, it’s