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Toyota Preparing Another Lotus Seven-Inspired Sports Car???

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On: Tue, May 26, 2015 at 12:18PM | By: Carl Malek


Toyota Preparing Another Lotus Seven-Inspired Sports Car???

Toyota has always been a brand that has been known for delivering well-built automobiles that can go toe-to-toe with rivals such as Volkswagen and Chevrolet, as well as Kia. However, in recent years the company has been known for its track record of producing vehicles that look bland and have the driving dynamics of an uninspired vanilla wafer. But if a new report is to be believed, Toyota could be preparing a new open-wheeled sports car concept that could make its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show later this year.

While the world will have to wait until October to see if such a concept makes it to the Toyota booth, various reports are stating that the company is developing a lightweight sports car that shares its basic theme and inspiration with the iconic Lotus Seven. The currently unnamed open-wheeled sports car was supposedly championed by Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, the same man who gave the green light for the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ as well as the aesthetically challenged but potent Lexus RC sport coupe. According to the folks over at the Australian publication Motoring, the concept would have a curb weight of about 1,500 lbs and be 12 ft long while also utilizing extensive amounts of carbon fiber in its construction. The concept is also expected to steal a page from the McLaren and boast a 1+2 seating arrangement

Performance hardware for the concept is unknown, but Motoring claims that it will be powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that will be paired with an experimental electric hybrid drive. Official output is unknown but with the Lotus Seven, as well as the more recent Caterham versions, boasting engines that are within or slightly under the 100-horsepower barrier, we expect this concept to follow suit and offer comparable figures. The one lone fly in this otherwise promising vial of performance-flavored ointment is that the report suggests that the concept will not feature a traditional manual gearbox and, instead, possibly come equipped with a CVT, a disappointing addition if it is indeed true.

If the concept does make its appearance at the Tokyo Auto Show and reaction is favorable, then a production version of the concept could launch as soon as 2018. Pricing would be expected to fall somewhere in the $30,000 range and while it is unknown if it will be available for buyers in the U.S. Toyota has shown a willingness to occasionally think outside the box with its performance offerings. The most recent iteration of the Toyota MR2 is a good example of this, as well as the Toyota Supra. In addition, the concept would also be an indirect spiritual successor to an obscure aftermarket offering known as the Rotus Seven. The Rotus was an aftermarket two-seat roadster made in the early 1980s that used the Lotus Seven's basic design theme, but with period Toyota hardware including the engine and transmission. You can check out Motorweek's impressions of the Rotus in the video below, and we hope to hear more about this mystery concept as the Tokyo Auto Show draws ever closer.

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