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First look: Toyota performance hybrid pushes boundaries

White light: Toyota says the white exterior is eco-friendly.

Toyota has given a glimpse of the future with its FT-HS two-door

3 Jan 2007

TOYOTA continues to push the performance hybrid theme in its latest concept car - the FT-HS hybrid sports concept.

Designed by Toyota's designers at its Calty Design Research facility at Newport Beach, California, the company has released computer-generated images of the show car that will roll out at the Detroit car show on Sunday, January 7.

Although not slated for production – yet – the car is a clear take on what a new-generation Celica or Supra might look like. It could even appear as a smaller Lexus sportscar.

According to Toyota insiders, the FT-HS is desperately needed to put some punch back into its sportscar lineup as a halo performance car.

Powering the FT-HS is a petrol 3.5-litre V6 and electric hybrid driving the rear wheels developing 298kW.

Toyota has set performance targets for the car of zero to 100km/h in just four seconds, top speed of more than 220km/h and a price of $US30,000 ($A37,600).

A 3.5-litre V6 hybrid is similar to the engine available in the Lexus GS450h and the extensive use of carbon fibre and aluminium should ensure its performance targets are met.

Apart from its eco-friendly performance engine, the FT-HS, like many recent show cars, is painted white, which also supports the car's hybrid message.

Physically, the FT-HS is about the size of the Lexus SC 430 with a weight distribution aiming at 50/50 front and rear.

It is designed as a 2+2 sports car with enough room in the back for occasional passengers.

8 center imageLeft: The FT-HS gets full aerodynamics and rear diffuser.

From any angle the car looks aggressive, with a sharp triangular profile said to have been inspired by a downhill speed skier while the car’s underbody has a full aerodynamic treatment to aid traction and handling. The engine will be visible through a hole in the hood to emphasise its hybrid nature.

Also functional are the large air intakes mounted above the rear wheel arches. These will direct cooling air to the rear-mounted battery pack.

The car rides on carbon-fibre wheels that carry 245/35ZR-21 front tyres and 285/30ZR-21 rear tyres.

The FT-HS also has a retractable roof that will slide and then lay down inside the car covering the backseat, turning it into a two-seater.

Like the exterior, the interior has an aggressive look about it.

The seats look like pure racing seats. They are thin and attached to the surrounding structure while the steering wheel is a hubless design while there are paddle shifters on the wheel

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