Hyundai petrol and diesel cars to disappear as new fuel efficiency standard looms? Korean giant weighs in on how its model range may change by 2030
How will Hyundai's range change by 2030? The brand weighs in on what it wants...
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They say great minds think alike, in which case there are plenty of great minds across the Japanese car industry because they all decided to bring sports cars to the 2023 Tokyo Mobility Show.
After spending the better part of a decade focused on efficiency and electrification, the Japanese car industry unleashed its wild side at this year’s show. All of the biggest brands, including Toyota, Mazda, Honda and Nissan, all showcased a concept car with excitement at its core.
And not just any sporty concept cars, but some very clear nods to some of the world’s most famous nameplates - RX-7, GT-R, Prelude and MR2. These are some of the most evocative and beloved models in the history of the Japanese automotive space, so bringing these back is a big deal.
While the jury is still out on which ones will see production and which will just be show stars, each of these models represents a shift in industry thinking and a sign that Japanese sports car fans are in for an exciting future.
It’s been more than a decade of teasing but Mazda might finally be bringing back the RX-7 - or at least its spiritual successor. The appropriately named Iconic SP is a very obvious preview to a would-be RX-7 for the new age, with a coupe body and twin-rotary engine that acts as a range-extender for an electric powertrain.
This is far from the first time Mazda has teased a possible rotary-powered sports car, but it could be the best chance yet for the company to actually go through with it. The partnership between Mazda and Toyota has been focused on high-volume models until now, but with Toyota known to be working on a new rear-wheel-drive coupe based on the GR GT3 Concept, it could allow for a cost-effective way to revive the RX-7.
They called it the Hyper Force but there is no mistaking what this car truly is - our first look at the new GT-R. As expected, the next-gen ‘Godzilla’ will go electric, but it’s not clear if it will be with a production version of what was underneath this concept.
That’s because Nissan claims this 1000kW monster is powered by a solid-state battery. In which case, we’ll probably be waiting a few more years before that technology is production-ready - even in a likely expensive and extreme car like the GT-R (let alone volume-selling models).
While the wild looks will be toned down for production, don’t be surprised if the next GT-R is an angular creation with active aerodynamics to ensure it lives up to its reputation. Nissan has made no secret that the GT-R (and the Z) are important models to the brand’s identity and will carry on as it switches to an electric future.
Another sports car years in the teasing is Toyota’s revived MR2. First came the re-born 86, then the resurrected Supra and now the Japanese giant is looking to complete the ‘family’ with the ‘mid-engine’ MR2.
Whether or not it has an engine or an electric motor remains to be seen, but the FT-Se Concept revealed in Tokyo used battery power. In addition to its sports car trio plans, Toyota is known to be working on ultra-compact batteries for EVs, as well as a ‘manual’ gearbox, technology that would seemingly be an ideal fit for a compact, mid-mounted sports car.
The FT-Se Concept also showed evolutionary styling from Toyota’s previous electric sports car showpiece (the Sports EV Concept) that arrived in 2021, suggesting the designers have locked in an idea they are fine-tuning now ahead of the finished production model.
Honda wasn’t giving away much in the way of details but what it did reveal spoke volumes. For starters, the name. It’s been 20 years since the Prelude was available in Australia but even so it’s a name that many buyers are familiar with and have fond memories of.
Then there was the official line that the company is “currently working diligently on development” of the car, all-but confirming that it’s likely to join the range as a hero model later this decade.
Hopefully, if it does make production Honda Australia puts its hand up for it and it doesn’t suffer the same fate as the loveable Honda e, which has been left off the local roster despite rising EV sales locally.
The Subaru SVX may not be quite as iconic as the RX-7, GT-R or MR2, but it was a high point for the brand in the early 1990s, showing off its ability to build performance cars before the WRX arrived. The Sport Mobility Concept is seemingly, in part, a throwback to the SVX, while also conforming to the needs for an electric future.
In other words, it’s a part-sports car and part-off-roader, with a coupe body and raised ride height, along with an electric powertrain.
This is perhaps the least-likely of our list to make production, or at least not in this more-exaggerated concept form. Subaru’s recent history of concept-to-production suggests a more toned-down final product is more likely.