Kevin Hunter, vice president of Toyota’s Los Angeles-based CALTY Design centre, which designed the car, said: “In addition to driving enjoyment, today’s drivers are concerned about safety, ecology and social responsibility.”
Essentially a high-performance Prius under the skin, it combines a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with an electric hybrid system, giving a target power output of 400bhp. Toyota neglected to take a guess at how many mile per gallon the car would manage.
Toyota’s luxury Lexus arm also launched a couple of cars at the show. The IS-F is a 400bhp V8 version of the IS model, and is the first model to carry Lexus’ new ‘F’ badge, which signifies special performance versions – rather like BMW’s ‘M’ models. It has an eight-speed automatic transmission. It will go on sale in limited numbers in 2008.
Lexus also updated the LF-A concept first seen at the 2005 Detroit Show. The LF-A has a 500bhp V10 petrol engine giving a top speed of more than 200mph. Although the LF-A is still in the concept stage, Lexus did say it was a ‘good bet’ for production.