マイブログ リスト


Seat belt airbag to be fitted on Lexus LFA

The Lexus LFA will be the first car to come equipped with seat belt airbags, developed by Takata (タカタ). The airbags are inflated in the case of frontal or side collision and aim to reduce the forces applied to the occupants' chest. In the event of a side collision, the airbag helps to control the movement of the head.

[Source: Response]

A Toyota Supra rendering from the past...

Back in 2005, a Japanese magazine published a rendering of the future Supra. Well, I don't think a new Supra will come out, but in any case it's a funny approach as this rendering is something between the last-gen Supra (A80) and Toyota's legendary 2000GT...!

Nissan slightly upgrades Cube and adds Party Red Selection

It seems that it's the time when manufacturers announce slight changes for their models and this time, it's Nissan Cube's (earlier post) turn. Also, the 15X / 15X Four Cube Party Red Selection (15X/15X FOURパーティーレッドセレクション) was released.
The Cube features now as standard an "ECO mode" function to support economical driving under starting and acceleration. Also, gear shifting is now optimised according to the size and distance of the corner by using information from the road navigation system.

Besides those changes, a new color "Shiny bronze (シャイニーブロンズ)" has been added to the available body colours, and now customers have a choice between nine colours.

The 15X / 15X Four Cube Party Red Selection features velour interior upholstery, in red of course, and other popular equipment as standard, such as a three-spoke leather steering wheel, intelligent key entry and a start/stop button.

Toyota FT-86 / Subaru 216A: Rumours, magazine scans & some thoughts...!!!

I promised a post about the FT-86 (earlier post)... and here it is. I hope you will enjoy it!

The Toyota / Subaru FT-86 is definitely a highly anticipated model, from both Toyota and Scoobi fans. It's the car that not only will spice up the Subaru lineup, but most importantly, it will bring Toyota's sporty image back from the dead, and of course attract younger buyers. No, I don't reckon that Toyota's involvement in F1 did any good. What's the point racing in F1 and not having a decent sports car in your lineup? No Celica, no MR2, no Supra... just boring Aurises and Corollas.... Oh, did I mention Avensis? And let the LFA alone. Amazing piece of engineering, but for the very view. It's the short of car that we will buy a scale model of it and the younger ones will perhaps have a poster of it in their rooms.

So, what's this FT-86 all about? Below are some quotes from an interview with the chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada-son.
  • "Who cares about static weight distribution, what we said was important and I kid you not, is how well balanced it is on and beyond the limit. When you're drifting, is when you need a well balanced car and that's where we spent all efforts and attention, in getting this spot on" 
  • "From the first turn of the steering wheel , this car needs to be fun and special"
  • "The FT-86 is going to set the benchmark for future Toyota's (next Yaris, Avensis and even Prius etc)"
  • "The criteria is fun and originality for those choosing cars. You can't do this overnight, the FT-86 is where we start"
  • "Using a flat 4 is intentional, I want the weight as low, as far back and tightly packed as possible. The compact size of the engine gives us tremendous freedom in its positioning". The H4 engine sits 110 mm lower than a conventional R4 engine would be.
Tada admitted that other brands are catching up to Toyota's eco lead. To ensure it maintains a stand out difference they will be first to produce fun to drive properly entertaining green cars. The FT-86 is the beginning of this game plan.

Many people want a lightweight, compact and inexpensive sports car, rear wheel drive of course, you know like in the old good days. We had enough with all those "luxury-ish" coupes with a premium tag. Initially, the whole FT-86 project has given the impression that it is going to be an AE86 revival, but at the end of the day, there are some chaps called marketing guys... so, fingers crossed.

Anyway, I have read many speculations about the FT-86, contradictory opinions about engine sizes, release dates etc. Therefore, I decided to do some searching and make a conclusion on what is more likely to come out from those two companies.
I have spent almost a week and I hope you will find this post interesting and informative. So, the first question coming to my mind is “when can I buy one?”. Most likely in spring 2012, following its debut at the end of 2011 (at Tokyo Motor Show) in Japan.
Next question to be answered is whether both brands will sell the FT-86 in the same markets. The answer to this is not clear, since the Scoobi version (codenamed 216A) had different internal codes -  086A, 087A & 088A for the Japanese, US and European markets respectively – but now, rumours suggest that it won't make it to the US. It seems though that Europe will get the Scoobi, as well as the Toyota version. In the US, the Toyota version will get the youthful Scion badge (I don't really know the reasons behind this decision, but it could well be due to the fixed pricing structure at all dealerships, thus avoiding any price hikes) and the name FR-S is a trademark that has been filed by Toyota both in the US and Canada. No words yet about other markets, such as Asia, Australia and Japan.

So, now the tricky bit. Engines... Initially, I had read that it will come with a 2.0L engine delivering 190hp.  Then, Japanese Best Car magazine suggested that the Subaru 216A  will have two versions in terms of power. One equipped with a revised two-liter Subaru EJ20 engine delivering 250hp (184kW) and the other one being a possible WRX STi version (with AWD) making 308hp (227kW).

To make things more interesting, British Autocar claims that the 216A will get a 260hp version of the Impreza WRX STi's turbocharged engine...

In any case, it seems that two engines will be used, a 2.0L (リタ) H4 and a 2.5L (リタ) H4, both coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox. The engines will also feature Toyota's D-4S technology, which is basically an advanced variant of Toyota's D-4 direct injection system. The letter S stands for Superior and this is due to the combination of direct injection with conventional port injection for each cylinder (thus eight injectors in total for an H4 engine).

According to the latest issue of British Car magazine (581, December 2010) which arrived yesterday (!) and I really consider it as a well trusted source, in Europe at least, we should expect around 200hp. Both Toyota and Subaru versions will get a 2.0L naturally aspired engine. In terms of performance, 6.0sec run to 100km/h and a top speed of 200km/h  seem entirely realistic. Judging by the low weight, the FT-86 is expected to be the greenest car in its class, with a fuel consumption of 6.5 ℓ/100km being feasible.

Toyota Europe's product planning and marketing manager Duncan McMath confirmed that Subaru has provided the boxer engine, but it has been Toyota's understanding of combustion and engine management system that has helped make this engine far cleaner than any Subaru motor we have seen so far. A limited-slip diff will be available later, but there are no plans for a dual-clutch gearbox (that's a shame as I would really like my FT-86 :-) having a gearbox of such type). And a turbocharged version? "It wouldn't be hard to do" chuckles McMath mischievously.

According to recent information from a trusted source, the oncoming generation of boxer engines will be codenamed FB20 and FB25. Those engines will be fitted with lockable dual Active Valve Control System (AVCS), new Tumble Generator Valves (TGV), a high-efficiency compact oil pump and lighter components,  such as pistons and connecting rods. The result will be an amazing 30% reduction inn friction! The cooling circuit will be optimized and cooling for the head and the engine block will be separated.

A Japanese publication has mentioned that even a 3.6L H6 engine may find its way under the hood, but bare in mind that also other variants are in the works. Personally, I find this scenario highly unlikely for the FT-86 itself, mainly because there will be a lot of weight at the front. However, there are rumours that the next-gen Lexus IS will be built atop a stretched version of the FT-86 chassis and power will come from a 2.5L H4 enigne and/or a 3.6L H6 engine.

During the last few months, reports claim that development costs have spiraled to the point where Subaru can no longer justify the inclusion of the AWD system and thus, only rear-wheel drive versions will come out. To bring added individuality to the 216A, the focus in now on redesigning the area from the A-pillar forward and giving it a more distinctive front end design. If Toyota do indeed go ahead and release the G Sports version (also referred as FT-86F version – earlier post) of the FT-86, Subaru will counter that with its own STi version which will then provide the basis for an R205-like special edition.

Car magazine confirms also that the actual car will very close to the concept, with a few changes for production of course. The lights will be slightly different and the bonnet will be raised a little to meet pedestrian impact legislation. In terms of interior design, the basic look of the concept will be there, but don't expect the fancy aluminium bits and pieces due to cost savings. Also, McMath told Car that the Scoobi won't be much different, primarily for cost reasons. "If you think about the visual relationship between the Citroen C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo, you will be on the right lines" he added.

The kerbweight is expected to be around 1,200kg!

Based on information from McMath himself, there will be two trim levels available at launch, but some markets will also get a stripped version (which will form an ideal basis for tuning).  Prices in UK should start around £25k.

Prices for the STi and G Sports / F versions are expected to be 3,500,000 ¥ and 3,000,000 ¥ respectively, with the base model for both automakers to sell for around 2,500,000 ¥. 

Sales target is 50,000 units annually.

In the future, a four-door variant is very likely to hit the markets and also, Toyota is considering entering WRC with the FT-86.

The FT-86 will be built at FHI’s (Fuji Heavy Industries – Subaru’s parent company) plant, Gunma Manufacturing Division in Gunma Prefecture, Japan (Legacy will also be produced there). At the beginning of the project, a new plant for the production of FT-86 and future derivatives was planned, but following the financial meltdown, it was decided to repair the existing line. This move will also enable to sell the car at a lower price. All those facts make sense since the car will ride on a modified Subaru Impreza platform and all engines will be boxers.

I believe Toyota will make it right this time and it'll bring out a really exciting model. I don't get it why, but it seems that there is a problem of consistency with Japanese manufacturers. Toyota, despite all the glorious models of the past, has left us so many years without a decent sports car / hot hatch etc. On the other hand, Honda is now looking like a modern Toyota... Since the beginning of the financial meltdown, the NSX replacement has been officially canned, the next-gen Honda Civic 2HC (earlier post) is rather disappointing and I have lost my faith in the S2000 replacement. Hm, only Mazda gets better with time...

[Sources: ft86club, 7Tune, Car magazine, IMP-X's blog, やっぱりクルマが好きっ!, ボクの趣味/ホビー, カービュー]