► S-FR hints Toyota is considering entry-level funster
► Front-engined, rear-wheel drive, lightweight coupe
► Could there be a Mazda MX-5 rival on the horizon?
Meet the Toyota S-FR, one of three new Toyota concepts set to rock the 2015 Tokyo motor show later this October. Looks pretty sweet, doesn’t it? And certainly much more production-ready than the wacky Kikai and futuristic FCV Plus. In fact, the S-FR gives every indication of being the (eventual) follow-up left hook to the GT86’s straight right in Toyota’s scuffling attempt at shaking off the Most Boring Car Maker in the World title…
What kind of anti-yawn device is this Toyota S-FR concept then?
Here’s Toyota’s own explanation: ‘Pitched as an entry-level model, its focus is on responsiveness and character that can make a new generation fall in love with driving. [The Japanese really are worried about this, aren’t they?] Toyota sees it as the kind of car that can attract its own die-hard fan base of drivers and customisers.’
Remind you of anything else you can think of?
So the S-FR is Toyota’s attempt to take on the Mazda MX-5, isn’t it?
It sure does look that way – right down to the combination of front-mid engine, rear-wheel drive layout (so that’s where the FR comes from), with six-speed manual transmission and independent suspension. Toyota has gone with a coupe bodystyle, though, which probably means it could be made cheaper and lighter, and offer extra added precision and responsiveness, compared to the open-top Mazda.
In a further effort to avoid the copycat tag, Toyota is also talking big about its back-to-basics sporting heritage, referencing the 2000GT and S800 in particular (but not the MR2, which was always Mid-engined and Rear-wheel drive). There are no specific performance details for the S-FR available yet, but this is definitely on our must-see list for this year’s Tokyo show. Please Toyota, just build it!
How big is the Toyota S-FR concept?
It's said to seat four. But that's got to be a bit of a squeeze as the S-FR is just 3990mm long, 1695mm wide and 1320mm high, with a 2480mm wheelbase. For comparison, the MX-5 is 3915mm by 1735mm, 1225mm tall and has a 2310mm wheelbase.
The S-FR is not a Kei car – the Japanese microcar category is regulated to 3400mm by 1480mm – so could it be based on a cut-down GT86 platform? Toyota's existing rear-drive thriller is 80mm wider and has an extra 90mm between its axles, but it's not inconceivable.