Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS) 2010; Toyota’s FT-HS Concept Car

The eco-themed Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show 2010 (KLIMS) held at the Putra World Trade Centre was a mixed bag in terms of variety and entertainment value. Much to the disappointment of some car enthusiasts, some well-known marquees were absent, namely the likes of Volkswagen, Audi, Renault, Volvo, just to name a few. For the makes that did participate, however, they showcased some very interesting concept cars to give attendees a glimpse of thefuture of automobiles. There were interesting concepts from Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, Honda, Proton and Perodua. One of the crowd pleasers, and definitely my favorite of the show, was the uber sexy hybrid sports concept from Toyota – the FT-HS.

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The FT-HS stands for Future Toyota Hybrid Sport. This is a concept which first appeared at the 2007 North American International Auto Show. This 2+2 front engined, rear driven sports coupe features a potent hybrid powertrain paired with sports car fundamentals. The car boasts a V6 3.5L engine utilizing Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive, which targets to output 400hp. It’s projected to hit 0-100km/h in 4 seconds.

It’s interesting to know that Toyota has not built a proper sports car since the demise of the venerable Supra in 1997. The development of the FT-HS is widely believed to be the basis of a V6-powered Supra successor. Since the FT-HS concept, Toyota partnering Toyota Team SARD, has exhibited the prowess of the hybrid powertrain in its Super GT HV-R hybrid race car. The Denso SARD Supra HV-R became the first hybrid race car in history to win a race when Toyota Team SARD took first place in the Tokachi 24-hour, a Super Taikyu race, on July 16, 2007.

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If this is how the future of vehicles look like, then the future is certainly going to be sexy and inspiring. The exterior of the FT-HS exudes sleekness and fluidity. It’s freeform yet blends with hard-edged corners to give it its aggressive stance. The carbon-kevlar roof is incredibly unique – the roof retracts so that the roof panel and back window pivot fluidly to stow in the rear seat space. Neat.The car also has a unique floating “C” pillar, which eliminates the “B” pillar.

The interior is very driver-oriented with a lean skeletal look, using materials such as titanium and carbon fiber. The cockpit includes a cross-car instrument panel structure and delta-wing driver pod. An integrated instrument panel surrounds the driver, creating an enclosed pod effect. The seating fits four but converts to a two-seater when the roof retracts. Who cares about the rear passenger space, IMHO! The hub-less steering incorporates paddle shifters.

It’s all very futuristic and high-tech but ultimately also functional and performance-driven. Is this Toyota’s answer to a sports car of the future? I hope, for mankind’s sake, it’s a yes.

For those who missed the chance to catch this gorgeous work of art in the flesh at the recently concluded KLIMS 2010, visit the Toyota FT-HS official page

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