Everybody loves a motor show because it’s an opportunity for car and bike enthusiasts to view not only the latest and greatest but also to get a peek into the future via the many concepts put on display. From world debuts of production-ready cars to outlandish flights of fancy, the Tokyo Motor Show always has a diverse collection of exhibits to go through, so hang tight and enjoy the show as we bring you what we think are the highlights of the TMS 2015.
We have to start with the new Honda NSX, because it’s taken so long to arrive. The concept car debuted in 2012 at the Detroit show and it’s only now in Tokyo 2015 that we get to see the finished article. Actually we did a bit more than just see it because we also had a short drive in one before the show. Order taking starts at the end of the year and the car will be built in Ohio, and yes, it’s the first time Honda is building a sports car outside of Japan. With 573hp and 646Nm available from its 3.5-litre twin turbo V6 with triple electric motor assist, the new NSX is no slouch but its 1,725kg kerb weight is a bit of a downer. Should you get it? Honda Malaysia are currently non-committal about bringing cars in officially but since you can already find grey market units of the BMW i8, it’s a certainty we’ll see these cars in Malaysia in 2016.
Honda Clarity FCV
Honda’s other big news car at TMS 2015 is the Honda Clarity FCV, which stands for Fuel Cell Vehicle. It’s powered by electric harvested by fuel cells, and fuelled by compressed hydrogen with pure water being the only by product. FCVs are usually concepts but Honda does things a bit differently. The previous generation Clarity was leased to members of the public in North America, which served as a trial run to judge the practicality of the car. This new one will go on sale in Japan, and there are plans to set up nearly 100 hydrogen filling stations in the country. That still sounds like there could be long distances to cover between fill ups but with a claimed range of 700km, you’re unlikely to see a Clarity FCV stopped by the side of the road.
Yamaha Sports Ride Concept
While the main theme of car manufacturers at the show were mainly related towards PHEVs and fuel cells, Yamaha unveiled a fun little sports car that would deliver the thrills of riding a sports bike. The Sports Ride Concept weighs just 750kg, thanks to a carbon fibre chassis developed by Gordon Murray Design Limited (yes, the man who gave us the McLaren F1 road car), yet sits two adults comfortably, and measures 3900mm long. Yamaha gives no details on the engine, but if it uses an R1 motor or even Yamaha’s 850cc MT-09 triple, it’ll be quick as well as fun to drive.
One of the stars of TMS 2015, the RX-Vision is a new interpretation of Mazda’s celebrated RX line of sports cars that ended when RX-8 production stopped in 2012. With classic long-nose and cab-rearward proportions as well as a low roof, the coupe drew lots of attention, though for now it remains as a styling and engineering exercise. Mazda remained mum about the engine but they are working hard to make the rotary engine a viable option for the future, which no doubt will thrill RX-7 and RX-8 owners around the world.
While those hoping for a Supra replacement to be unveiled were disappointed by Toyota, the SF-R it showed instead is a much more viable sports car option. Slightly bigger than a kei-car but looking like a cute roadster in the mould of the original Mazda MX-5, the concept is rear wheel driven, has a six-speed manual and talk is rife on Toyota fan sites of an engine packing up to 210hp. That sounds like wishful thinking, but if this car ever made production, look for it to be a Honda S660 rival.
Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo
It’s not new as the Concept 2020 was shown at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2014, but for TMS 2015 Nissan gave its gamers’ wet dream car a fresh coat of red paint. Conceived alongside the creators of Gran Turismo, the Concept 2020 is what Nissan believes a video game car would be like in real life, which isn’t such a huge leap of faith because Nissan has already taken virtual racing drivers and turned them into real racers with the GT Academy programme. Hmm…
BMW M4 GTS
While most of their big debuts would have taken place at Frankfurt in September, TMS 2015 saw BMW making the world debut of the M4 GTS. Only 700 examples of this hardcore coupe will be made available at prices that will no doubt make your eyes water. You do get some fancy upgrades though. Power is up by 16 per cent to 493hp, while torque has swelled by 10 per cent to 600Nm. Drive is put to the rear wheels via a 7-speed M DCT gearbox and the engine has a ‘world-first’ water injection system that injects a fine mist of water into the air intake to lower temperatures and improve efficiency. There’s also a half-cage for all you race car fans and a carbon roof so that owners of the normal M4 can turn green with envy.
Porsche 911 Carrera 4S and Porsche Macan GTS
More world debuts from Germany came from Porsche who gave the 911 Carrera 4S and Macan GTS their first public showings. In both cases, the cars update an existing range but they’re still interesting nonetheless. The Carrera 4 is available in coupe, cabriolet and Targa formats and joins the updated rear wheel drive Carrera 2 released earlier in the year. Power is from the new twin-turbo 3.0-litre flat-six and if you opt for the 4S, you’ll get 420hp and 500Nm through all four wheels. Visually, the car gets a redesigned front bumper sporting active air ducts, revised headlights with altered internal graphics, larger exterior mirrors and new door handles.
The Porsche Macan GTS meanwhile slots in between the Macan S and Macan Turbo in Porsche’s baby SUV range. It too has a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo engine and pushes out 360hp and 500Nm. This leaves the GTS 40hp behind the Turbo but 20hp ahead of the Macan S, which may not seem too impressive but equipped with the 7-speed PDK gearbox and Sports Chrono pack it’ll perform the 0-96km/h in only 4.8 seconds. So, despite the lack of a wow factor for either car, they’re both hugely important to Porsche.
Subaru WRX STI S207
Admittedly there’s nothing ground breaking or future tech about the WRX STI S207, but it’s the latest version of Subaru’s fire breathing AWD sports saloon, which is a reason to celebrate. Lest we forget, TMS 2015 is more about hybrids, EVs and green tech so a turbocharged Subaru that’s only interested in going fast is worth a look. The engine is a 2.0-litre blown motor with 323hp and 431Nm while visual goodies include the NBR visual package, designed to commemorate Subaru’s class victory in the 2015 Nurburgring 24hr race. Only 400 units will be built and it’s a JDM model but a few will find their way to Malaysia somehow.
TMS 2015 is mostly about cars, but you can’t set aside the presence of Japan’s major motorcycle brands. Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki all have big show stands and a common theme this year seems to be three-wheelers that lean into corners. Yamaha showed off the MWT-9 concept, which is a bit of a Judge Dredd version of its Tricity scooter. Powered by the triple-cylinder motor from the MT-09, it’s impressive front end has four externally mounted shocks on the outside of the front wheels, which makes it look more like a bike than a car.
Not to be outdone. Honda has shown the Neowing, which is also a trike but is powered by a boxer-4 engine and an electric motor, thus making it a Hybrid trike. If anything, the Neowing looks even more imposing than the MWT-9 with its fat rear wheel and edgy styling and because it’s a Honda, there is talk it may even be three-wheel drive with the electric motor directing power to the front wheels. Considering this is a concept from a company that has just put a DCT gearbox on its most important adventure bike, a trike like this could very well make it into future production.