Tokyo Motor Show: one last look
While the 45th Tokyo Motor Show is long over, many of us who visited still feel nostalgic and excited when we look back.
Being a car enthusiast, let me share with you some vehicles that appealed, removed from the pomp and pageantry of new vans, sedans, SUVs and electric vehicles unveiled.
Together with other car enthusiasts, here are our picks:
1. Ikeya-Formula IF-02RDS
If you’re a drifter, a track-addict, or just love tuning and modifying cars for maximum performance, Ikeya-Formula shouldn’t be a stranger to you.
The small engineering and motorsports company which hails from Tochigi was founded in 1968 and prides itself building a variety of suspension, driveline and chassis stability components for a wide variety of cars popular for drifting and track use.
It’s not the IF-02RDS’s first appearance at the Tokyo Motorshow. I saw this back in 2015, but now, the number plates says it all.
It is now road-legal in Japan, sporting a 2.0-liter turbocharged Honda engine, plus Ikeya-Formula’s ingenious seamless-shift manual transmission, all in a package that weighs 1,150 kg.
It looks like a Le Mans LMP refugee. More interesting is the company’s 4.0-liter normally aspirated V10 engine with 600 hp, which can theoretically fit inside this space-framed beauty.
This is the stuff dreams are made of for hard-core enthusiasts!
2. BMW Z4
BMW’s Z4, which shares its basic chassis architecture with the upcoming Toyota Supra, looked so impressive, aggressive and exciting, even when just parked under the bright lights of the BMW booth.
While the looks are pretty radical even for showcar/concept car standards, BMW promises that at least 80 percent of the concept car will make it into production, in time for its 2018 launch next year.
As for the Supra? Unfortunately, it was a no-show this time, but the Z4 left us very happy.
3. Audi Q8 Concept
Audi’s modular platform approach (along with the rest of the VW Group) has revolutionized automotive manufacturing.
Now, their Q8 Concept packs the best of both a coupe and a soft-roader in one package.
Despite the sometimes questionable looks (and logic) of many of these SUVs, the Q8 actually looks handsome and aggressive.
The powertrain is equally impressive. A turbocharged V6 petrol engine delivers 333 hp to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic and Quattro AWD, with a 134 hp electric motor.
Total output is at 443 hp and a wall-climbing 700 Newton meters of torque.
If the math doesn’t add up for the HP, that’s because the gasoline and electric motors actually reach peak hp output at different rpm points.
Until the internal-combustion engine is completely dead, this is the future.
4. Mazda Vision Coupe
Perhaps this is the only Japanese manufacturer that didn’t let us down. Mazda’s Vision Coupe is actually a 4-door, similar in shape and silhouette to that of an Aston Martin Rapide, itself not a bad thing.
Right now, it’s more of a design study, which uses minimalist cues, or what Mazda calls a “one-motion” design, making it look like it’s moving even when standing still.
It’s beautiful, stylish, and very Zen Japanese without looking typical Japanese, if that makes sense.
No details on whether it will reach production, or what might be under the hood. But everyone is hoping it’s a turbocharged rotary engine with a manual, or at least a dual-clutch transmission imbued with SkyActiv Technology.
5. Mercedes-AMG Project One
If there was one modern vehicle that best represented Formula 1’s bleeding edge technology, Mercedes-AMG’s Project One hypercar is it.
Utilizing a slightly sanitized (for emissions purposes) Formula 1 engine wrapped around a carbon-fiber monocoque structure based off a Mercedes-W107 F1 chassis, the Project One is literally a Formula One race car for the road.
The 1.6-liter 90-degree turbocharged V6 petrol engine produces roughly 750 hp, sending power to the rear wheels, while the fronts receive drive from the in-wheel electric motors.
A total of four electric wheel motors give added punch, producing a total of roughly 1,000 hp in a very lightweight engine.
Of course, it is a plug-in hybrid as well. The transmission is a single-clutch automated manual to reduce weight.
The price? A cool $2.75 million plus local taxes, with a very limited run of 275 units slated for delivery starting in 2019.