A daring new Toyota coupe concept has broken cover at the Detroit motor show. The new FT-1 concept is the result of Toyota’s Calty design studio’s mission to create the ultimate sports car. The California-based team, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, has produced a car that is strikingly modern, yet which makes reference to Toyota’s rich sports car history, going back to the 2000GT of the mid-1960s.
The exterior captures the look of racecar with a curvilinear form, pronounced front wings and sharply defined contrasts that express powerful performance. The FT-1’s optimum aerodynamic qualities are communicated by its large air intakes, exhaust ports and retractable rear wing.
The front engine/rear-wheel drive configuration allows the cockpit to set further towards the rear of the car, within the wheelbase, helping improve weight distribution and create classic sports car proportions. The wraparound windscreen and side glass arrangement are a clear nod to the design of the original 2000GT.
The ergonomics of the cabin capitalise on the car’s low centre of gravity, helping the driver derive the maximum reward from the driving experience. A delta-shaped display zone helps make the driver feel at the heart of the action, fully connected to the car. This quality is reinforced by the Formula 1-style steering wheel and a colour head-up display that projects key information just above the wheel. The designers have pushed the A-pillars as far back as possible, to increase visibility when cornering.
Traditionally Toyota’s design decisions have been driven by consensus among a large group of people; as part of a company movement to give Toyota products more energy and passion, the process has been streamlined. This approach has been fundamental to the development of the FT-1, a concept that captures Toyota’s aim of creating cars that connect more deeply with customers and generate a more satisfying ownership experience.