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Off-Duty Toyota Engineers Build MR2 Hybrid Roadster

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Off-Duty Toyota Engineers Build MR2 Hybrid Roadster

Everyone needs a hobby, but what if you’re a Toyota engineer and building technologically advanced prototypes is your hobby? Don’t you get enough of that at work? Apparently not, since that was the motivation behind the plug-in sportscar you see here. Built on an old MR2 platform using from Toyota’s corporate Prius/Corolla parts bins by company engineers with a lot of free time on their hands, the Toyota TE-S800 is a sweet-looking plug-in hybrid roadster that weighs less than 2000 lbs. and rockets to 60 MPH in just 5.8 seconds (!).

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Published under Toyotasend this post
February 2nd, 2014

Motorsports: Lexus RC F GT500 is the Super GT car Daft Punk fans will appreciate [w/video]

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Lexus RC F GT500

Lexus Racing’s booth designers at the Tokyo Auto Salon clearly loved a certain French electronic music duo when they decided to promote the new Lexus RC F racecar from the Super GT series. The Daft Punk-inpsired race team appeared ready for a pit stop in this promo photo, wearing custom double-breasted suits made from race gear as well as top hats, headphones and reflective sunglasses.

Lexus Racing showed the car in the summer when it was known as the LF-CC, but the Tokyo Auto Salon gave the public the first chance to see the renamed RC F in full race trim. It replaces the aging Lexus SC 430 GT500 car with a sharper, more aggressive racing weapon making 500 horsepower from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The RC F, Nissan GT-R and Honda NSX form a trio of new models in the top-spec GT500 arm of Super GT, as the class goes through one of its biggest changes in its history. The GT500 class and DTM in Germany are unifying their rules for the new season. The cars have the same limits on exterior dimensions and weight. The only major difference between them is that the GT500 cars are using 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines, and the DTM is using naturally aspirated 4.0-liter V8s in its cars.

Super GT begins its eight-race season at the Okayama circuit on April 6. Scroll down to check out a video of the RC F testing on track. A turbo four-cylinder might not seem exciting, but it certainly sounds good.

Continue reading Lexus RC F GT500 is the Super GT car Daft Punk fans will appreciate [w/video]

Lexus RC F GT500 is the Super GT car Daft Punk fans will appreciate [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 28 Jan 2014 10:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Published under Lexussend this post
January 28th, 2014

Official: Bonkers Honda Vezel headlines Mugen’s lineup at Tokyo Auto Salon

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Mugen Vezel Concept

Japanese automakers and their tuning divisions have descended upon the Makuhari Messe in Chiba City for the 2014 Tokyo Auto Salon. And for Honda, it’s all about Mugen.

Honda’s Japanese Domestic Market tuning division brought a series of modified concepts and racing cars to the salon this year, including the CR-Z hybrid touring car it fields in the Super GT series, the SF13 single-seater from the Super Formula series as well as customized versions of the Fit, Odyssey and N-WGN. But the prize for the most outrageous of them all surely goes to the modified Vezel you see above.

Modeled on Honda’s new Fit-based crossover, the Mugen Vezel Concept goes further than the versions we’ve seen until now. It features a bonkers body kit, dual exhaust, brake upgrade, sport suspension, intricate 20-inch alloy wheels and an upgraded interior. It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re feeling still interested, you can check it out in the gallery above, along with the announcement below and the specs on Mugen’s website.

Continue reading Bonkers Honda Vezel headlines Mugen’s lineup at Tokyo Auto Salon

Bonkers Honda Vezel headlines Mugen’s lineup at Tokyo Auto Salon originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Jan 2014 10:19:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Published under hondasend this post
January 14th, 2014

Official: Toyota reveals brace of customized concepts at Tokyo Auto Salon

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Toyota Harrier G Sports Concept

The Tokyo Auto Salon kicked off this weekend, filling the slot in the Japanese car scene that SEMA does in North America or Essen does in Germany with tuned and modified versions of domestic automobiles. Of course, Toyota wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to show just how far its JDM models can be taken, and to that end brought no fewer than 34 customized vehicles to the Makuhari Messe in Chiba City.

Among the highlights is the Harrier G Sports Concept, a modified version of the new crossover that debuted just a couple of months ago at the more mainstream Tokyo Motor Show, with a blacked-out snout that makes it look like a Lexus RX with a bloody nose. There was also a similarly modified Vitz RS G Sports Concept, fitting sports seats and a firmer suspension to the hatchback better known on this side of the Pacific as the Yaris.

Toyota’s Japanese in-house tuning division GRMN modified the domestic Mark X sport sedan, replete with 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed manual, with an optimized suspension, brakes and Torsen limited-slip differential. It was joined by the GRMN 86 Concept that brings Gazoo Racing’s experience on the Nürburgring to the streets of Japan with a lower curb weight, enhanced powertrain and a firmer suspension.

Alongside the modified Harrier, Vitz, Mark X and GT86, Toyota brought in custom rides from Gazoo Racing, G Sports, Modellista and TRD, the full extent of which you can read about, along with the full specs on those four centerpieces, in the press release below.

Continue reading Toyota reveals brace of customized concepts at Tokyo Auto Salon

Toyota reveals brace of customized concepts at Tokyo Auto Salon originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 12 Jan 2014 17:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Published under Concept Cars, Toyotasend this post
January 12th, 2014

Report: Nissan working on bringing bizarro BladeGlider to dealerships?

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Nissan BladeGlider Concept

It’s a rare thing for pie-in-the-sky concepts to make production relatively unmolested. Edges are usually softened, mirrors made bigger and wheels shrunken into something that will be less backbreaking and easier to see out of on public roads. And while the essence of many concepts can still find their way into production, the wackier parts found in their concept forms often end up as nothing more than flights of fancy.

That makes news of the strange Nissan BladeGlider being considered for production rather interesting. You’ll recall that the BladeGlider Concept debuted in November at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, featuring a McLaren-esque three-seat V layout, an electric drivetrain and a narrow front track like the DeltaWing and ZEOD RC. Understandably, perhaps, Nissan has been touting it as “reinventing the performance car.” Everything about it screamed “concept.”

Now comes word from Car in the UK that the car may actually make it to production. Quoting Nissan vice president Andy Palmer, “It’s in our mid-term plan.” “Our intention is to do it,” he says. Now, Palmer has plenty of sway, but this should hardly be taken as an absolute confirmation that the triangle-shaped car would be coming. It is, however, a very promising sign. Palmer evidently sees the BladeGlider as a way to cajole young people into becoming car enthusiasts, which suggests Nissan might try to make it inexpensive. Alternatively, the BladeGlider could form the basis of a small-volume racecar, but it isn’t clear what racing organization would have it.

Either way, before the BladeGlider can be green-lit, the Japanese company’s lawyers need to sort things out with Don Panoz. The American businessman turned car builder is suing Nissan due to a striking similarity between Panoz’s DeltaWing racer – which Nissan helped campaign at Le Mans – and the Japanese automaker’s ZEOD RC and BladeGlider Concepts. Panoz has already filed a cease-and-desist letter and is apparently targeting full intellectual copyrights.

If Nissan ends up besting Panoz in court, though, it seems there’s at least one powerful voice in Nissan that wants to see this car happen. Would you consider a production BladeGlider or would Nissan be better off building a more traditional sports car? If the BladeGlider did make production, do you think it’d retain its pure EV setup or run a conventional engine? Let us know in Comments.

Nissan working on bringing bizarro BladeGlider to dealerships? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 09 Jan 2014 14:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Published under Concept Cars, Nissansend this post
January 9th, 2014

Teased: Gazoo Racing hints at Toyota GT86 concept for Tokyo Auto Salon [w/video]

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A teaser image of the rear of a Toyota GT86 concept by GRMN

Gazoo Racing has teased a new take on the Toyota GT86 (our Scion FR-S) that it is bringing to next week’s Tokyo Auto Salon. Having only posted a picture of the coupe’s rear wing and backlight on its Facebook page, we have no idea what the rest of the concept will offer. If last year’s introduction is any guide, there should be plenty more bodykit and power to go along with that wing.

Speaking of last year’s concept, Gazoo has released some new track footage of its twin-charged GRMN Sports FR Platinum Concept from last year’s Salon. It will return to this year’s show alongside the new car, and you can watch it drift deliciously in the new video below.

Continue reading Gazoo Racing hints at Toyota GT86 concept for Tokyo Auto Salon [w/video]

Gazoo Racing hints at Toyota GT86 concept for Tokyo Auto Salon [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 02 Jan 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Published under scion, Toyotasend this post
January 2nd, 2014
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