Toyota’s suddenly feeling sporty with new FT-1 –

Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Asked what engine it was fitted with, Toyota officials were vague, however, a company spokesman later explaining that the FT-1 concept was not a working “runner.” But the concept was to outfit it with a conventional internal combustion engine, and not one of the hybrid powertrains the Japanese maker has become known for—clearly in a bid to show it can deliver some traditional, classic automotive muscle.

But whether that would be a big V-8—perhaps like the 400 horsepower engine set to debut in the new RC-F from Toyota’s Lexus division Tuesday—or a more high-tech, downsized gas engine remains to be seen.

For the moment, it doesn’t matter, as Toyota officials described the FT-1 as a design exercise with no specific production plans—though Calty design chief Hunter did say potential production opportunities were considered during the show car’s development.

(Read more: GM CEO: Taking care of Silverado recall)

And, indeed, Toyota is planning to beef up its sports car portfolio. It recently launched a small model developed as part of a joint venture with Subaru that is sold in the U.S. as the Scion FR-S. But Toyota also confirmed a few weeks ago that it will join in a partnership with Germany’s BMW to develop two additional sports cars. Whether the FT-1 might be part of those plans remains to be seen.

But one thing is certain, Hunter promised, the sort of emotionally driven design the concept vehicle delivers will be back. The name, he revealed, stands for “Future Toyota,” with “the 1 standing for the ultimate.”

By CNBC Contributor Paul A. Eisenstein. Follow him on Twitter
@DetroitBureau or at


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