Will FT-HS Replace Toyota’s Supra?




Toyota Motor Sales, exploring new product categories, as well as a few old ones, has developed the FT-HS hybrid sportscar concept, which could evolve into a replacement for the defunct Celica/Supra in the automaker’s lineup.


Toyota hails the concept as “a suitable sports car for the 21st century.” That doesn’t sound much like rock ‘n’ roll, or the “gotta have” car that General Motors often talks about. But it is an impressive project from Toyota’s Calty research and design center in California that could be Toyota ’s next mid-priced global sports car with a hybrid powertrain.


The FT-HS incorporates hybrid capability while maintaining sports car essentials, such as a sleek profile, lightweight aero-dynamic materials, and performance. The car, says Toyota , is meant to appeal to an emerging buyer “who grew up eco-conscious and perceives technology as a necessity, not a luxury.”


The two-plus-two configuration is a front-engine, rear-drive sports car with a projected zero-to-60 acceleration in the four-second range. A powerful 3.5-liter V-6 engine is coupled with a hybrid system with a target power output of about 400 horsepower. The most distinguishing design element is the roof, which recedes in two pieces—a carbon fiber half that, when retracted, slides over a glass half, with the two halves nestled into the back seat creating an open roof and rear configuration. When the roof is open, though, the rear seats cannot be used for occupants.


A hood features a scalloped channel, exposing the hybrid engine. Integrated component architecture can be seen in the aerospace-inspired lighting. The tail lamp unit spans the entire rear, and has an integrated retractable spoiler. The B-pillar is eliminated and creates a kind of suspended C-pillar.


In 1999, Toyota ceased sales of the Supra in the United States, while production in Japan stopped in 2002.


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