We’re not going to say that we don’t take the Tokyo Motor Show seriously. We do, in fact. But, for a show that only comes around every other year, and largely features a bunch of wacky concept cars that will never see the light of day—at least, not in the United States—it’s hard to justify a full court press on the goings-on halfway around the world. And though this year’s TMS is no exception to eccentric oddities, there were some very notable debuts by major manufacturers that will undoubtedly impact the US market for years to come. So, without further adieu, here are our nine picks for the noteworthy happenings in Tokyo:
9. Acura News
It appears that Honda is finally stepping up its premium game in announcing the next iterations of the TL, MDX, and TSX will get seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions, an advanced injection system for the 3.5-liter V-6 (virtually all other manufacturers already have this more efficient “Direct Injection,” including non-premium brands), and three electric motors (yes, Hybrid). Basically, the techie wordage means that Acura’s next-gen cars will start out as a 308 horsepower V-6, but will have a 27-hp electric motor at each rear wheel, plus another 40-hp motor connected to the engine itself. Acura will retain its SH-AWD, but with a twist: Each of the rear electric motors will independently control wheel speed and traction while turning, and in inclement weather. Most importantly, though, aside from a potential 402 total horsepower, is that the goal for a 10-percent increase in efficiency could put the TL and TSX into the low 30′s for highway mpg, and mid- to high-20′s for the heavier MDX.
8. BMW ActiveHybrid 5
All of the other BMW ActiveHybrid’s have been performance-first V-8′s, but for the newest 5-Series, the ActiveHybrid gets a six-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Mileage ratings have not been released, but we’re expecting better than the 21 mpg city/31 mpg hwy rating seen in the 530i. As for the electric motor, BMW announced the 55-hp unit will increase the engine’s output to about 335 horsepower. BMW did reveal that the ActiveHybrid 5 will go on sale in March, but it has not yet released details on pricing.
7. Mazda Takeri Concept
This stunning concept is a next-generation mid-size sedan powered by Mazda’s new Skyactiv 2.2-liter diesel four-cylinder and features an i-ELOOP kinetic energy regenerative braking system, and an idle start-stop. Basically, it’s got a healthy say in that whole “efficiency” movement.
6. Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept
This five-door wagon could be the next Subaru Legacy, and aside from its visually striking design cues, the big news is that less is more, specifically under the hood. Subaru says the Advanced Tourer Concept is powered by a 1.6-liter flat-4, and that the in-house designed electric motor could give it the power of Subaru’s larger 2.0- and 2.5-liter powerplants.
5. Subaru BRZ
We’ve already covered everything you want to know about the Subaru BRZ without driving it, but the TMS marks the first time that anyone has seen the final production model. Basically, it’s a tiny, 200 horsepower, front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car for people who think the Mazda MX-5 (Miata) is a) too cute, b) underpowered, and c) impractical.
4. Toyota GT 86
Pretty much everything you want to know about this car is summed up by reading about the Subaru BRZ. Mostly. Except that here, in the US, the Subie-cousin will be known as Scion FR-S, and will cost less and weigh less than the BRZ. It also is a tiny, 200 horsepower, front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car for people who think the Mazda MX-5 (Miata) is a) too cute, b) underpowered, and c) impractical.
3. Volkswagen Cross Coupe
One of the unexpected surprises of the TMS is this near-production-looking ready crossover from Volkswagen. The four-seater is more chic than a Tiguan, and features accommodating interior and cargo space. But most exciting is the hybrid powerplant. According to our sister publication, Motor Trend, VW didn’t specify which engine will/might/could power the Cross Coupe, but it did specify power figures: 148-hp gasoline engine with two electric motors, one powering the front wheels with 54 horsepower, and one powering the rear wheels with 114 horsepower. VW says the total output is about 262 horsepower and could move the CUV to freeway speeds in a scant 7.0 seconds.
2. Nissan’s New Hybrid Technology
We’ve already reported that Nissan’s new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder hybrid engine will be getting supercharged, and speculation was that it would bow in the next-generation Altima. That has now been confirmed by Nissan, which also hinted that the same powerplant, which could see the same power but better mileage as the 3.5-liter V-6, might also power the Nissan Quest, possibly becoming the first hybrid minivan.
1. Honda Catching Up (?)
The TMS has been a positive showing for Honda, which has been notoriously slow and difficult in matching up with the latest automotive technologies. But here you have it; Honda is moving forward with an Accord Plug-In Hybrid, advanced injection systems for most of its engine range, a new 1.6-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder that may or may not be coming to America, and new transmissions, including a seven-speed dual clutch, and a redesigned CVT. Better late than never, right?
Source: Motor Trend