The future’s less tense
THERE were no DeLoreans or flying cars but this year’s Tokyo motor show had a distinct “Back to the Future” feel about it.
Toyota executive vicepresident Nobuyori Kodaira even paid homage to the sci-fi flick in an opening night speech: “Just as the Back to the Future movies dreamt of a future 30 years down the track, we hope not only to pass on to you new ideas about future mobility ... but also to dream up together a new vision of the 30 years to come.”
Mazda looked back with a modern take on the rotaryengined RX-8, Toyota unveiled a spiritual successor to its first sports car, the Toyota 800, and Lexus revealed a hydrogenpowered coupe.
Mitsubishi looked forward to a time where cars do their own valet parking and Nissan tried to counter young people’s growing indifference by trying to turn the car into a giant iPad.
Hydrogen-powered Toyota and Honda cars are inching closer to full-scale production. The driver took a back seat at the show — most concept cars involved automated driving.
Here are the highlights: Lexus vied with Mazda for star of the show with its all-wheeldrive hydrogen-powered four- door coupe, the LF-FC. Its highoutput fuel cell powers the rear wheels and sends current to two in-wheel motors in the front.
The LF-FC brings a fresh take on Lexus’s design philosophy, with an updated version of the signature grille and L-shaped daytime running lights.
Inside, the front seats appear to float, while the driver can operate controls without touching them — an advanced human-machine interface responds to by making hand gestures over a hologram on the centre console. Mazda’s famed rotary engine is back — at least in concept form.
Fifty years after Mazda took the wraps off its first rotarypowered Cosmo prototype, Mazda stole the show with the RX-vision concept, a sleek sports car with a Wankel engine.
Mazda boss Masamichi Kogai says the rotary engine is still some way off but the brand is “addressing the three key