Toyota has pulled the covers off the FT-Se, an electric sports car that could be the basis for a revived MR2. Read on to find out more about this new performance car.
- New Toyota FT-Se concept revealed
- Small, sleek sports car could hint at new MR2
- Uses motorsport-inspired technology
- Aerodynamic focus improves efficiency
- Specially designed knee pads offer protection in hard cornering
- Low instrument panel with fully digital cockpit
This is the new Toyota FT-Se, an electric sports car concept that previews the technology that will find its way into Toyota cars of the future, and hints at the fact that the Japanese firm intends to continue building performance cars as it switches to electric propulsion.
New Toyota FT-Se design
The FT-Se may just be a concept car for now, it’s not so wild that it couldn’t make it into production with pretty minimal changes. Toyota has a track record of bringing concept cars into reality; just look at the new C-HR. That car made it from concept car to showroom more or less unscathed.
At the front there are three large grilles flanked by vertical daytime running lights, while vents in the bonnet help direct airflow over the car. The side profile looks a lot like a Lotus Evora, with a compact cabin and a roofline that flows into the bodywork above the slim tail lights at the rear. A small spoiler is blended into the bodywork at the back too.
The design is all about reducing drag, which can not only help with top speed, but also efficiency, maximising range.
New Toyota FT-Se interior
The inside is arguably more extreme than the exterior. There’s a divider between the passengers with a soft material that allows you to comfortably rest your legs, and makes sure you don’t get any pain from bashing your knees during hard cornering.
The dashboard is a very simple design without a large central infotainment display. Instead, you get a Tesla yoke-style steering wheel with a small instrument screen above it, and a smaller screen on each side for more information and settings.
Although you don’t have quite as many screens as some modern cars, Toyota says all of the on-board technology can be updated to improve performance and add new features.
New Toyota FT-Se motors and batteries
Exactly what powers the FT-Se has not been revealed, other than the fact that it is electric
However, it is an all-wheel drive layout, but with more power going to the rear to make it feel more agile. Toyota has also hinted at downloadable driving modes which will allow you to change the characteristics of your car such as the sound and driving dynamics.
We also know that Toyota recently outlined its next-generation battery technology, which included a ‘High-Performance’ version from around 2027. Exactly how much power that would result in is unclear, but a range of more than 600 miles is the plan.
Another positive to come from Toyota’s battery developments is that it is reducing the height of the pack itself. This helps to keep the car’s weight lower, which has handling benefits, as well as allowing the overall vehicle height to drop, which reduces drag and improves efficiency. All very promising stuff.
One thing an electric car can’t replicate is the satisfaction of changing gear yourself on a twisty road, or so you might think. Toyota’s luxury arm Lexus is currently working on some technology to give you the feeling of a manual gearbox in an electric car.
It has built a Lexus UX300e prototype, and it works by using software to replicate engine revs, as well as the clutch biting point, to make it drive exactly like a manual car when you want it to. You can even stall it if you really want to. While this technology is exclusive to Lexus for now, it’s highly likely to appear in Toyota’s GR models in the future, and this could include the FT-Se.
When can I buy the Toyota FT-Se?
The Toyota FT-Se is just a concept for now, but it’s not a million miles away from being production-ready. With the plan to introduce high-performance battery technology from around 2027, an exciting sports car would be a great way to demonstrate how well it works.
Will it be called MR2? Well, the ‘M’ in the name comes from the fact that the engine is mounted in the middle of the chassis. In a press conference, Toyota appeared keen to cool comparisons with its popular roadster, but the FT-Se’s batteries are mounted in the middle of the car, so it wouldn’t be a massive leap. We’ll have to wait and see…
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