Toyota S-FR concept shows future sports car

Lightweight two-seater set for Tokyo debut - but could make production as a MX-5 rival...

Toyota S-FR concept shows future sports car

This is the Toyota S-FR, a new baby sports car concept that could well make it into production as a rival for the popular Mazda MX-5.

The S-FR is making its public debut at the Tokyo motor show. Toyota hasn’t released any specifications, but the car’s basic set-up has been leaked online. It’s expected to be powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 128bhp and 109lb ft of torque.

The gearbox will be a six-speed manual and, in an unusual move for a Japanese model, there won’t be an automatic version. That’s because Toyota sees the S-FR as another step in its bid to become a manufacturer of engaging, fun cars as well as sensible family hatchbacks and hybrids.

As with the MX-5, the front-engined, rear-wheel-drive S-FR is expected to be focused on agile handling and an involving drive instead of outright pace. It should weigh around 980kg - enough for brisk performance from its 1.5-litre engine.

The car’s styling is unmistakably Japanese, but it has short overhangs and an extremely simple-looking cabin with very few buttons.

Toyota will gauge reaction to the S-FR at Tokyo before making a decision on production - but it could slot into the firm’s range below the existing GT86. There’s no indication on what the car could cost - although Toyota could conceivably pitch it as a rival for the Mazda’s prices, starting from around £17,000.