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Tokyo Motor Show 2009

We’ve blended all the highlights in a one-minute tasting plate. All the glamour, all the glitz and definitely all the green gadgetry.

The LF-A is being touted as the new Lexus sportscar and expected to go up against Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and other high performance supercars.

Apart from these almost-production ready coupes, the show is shaping up to be a restrained affair as carmakers continue to battle the fallout from the global financial crisis. Just three smaller foreign brands, Caterham, BMW Alpina and Lotus are attending this year.

In 2007 26 foreign brands lined up with the Japanese carmakers at the show. Despite the low attendance by carmakers, Tokyo is traditionally a show full of quirky city cars and concepts. Electric cars, from plug-in hybrids to full-blow electric vehicles remain popular, following on from the green theme at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show.

What's Hot:


FT-EV II: This is the second generation of Toyota's electric car concept with a futuristic edge. Drive-by-wire technology and a solar panel on the roof give this urban commuter a distinct edge. Looks a little like the iQ sold in Europe. FT-86 Concept: Look beyond the lines are you'll see Toyota's new Celica. The rear-drive compact sportscar will borrow Subaru's 2.0-litre boxer four.

The world debut of the CSR 175 EU4, a more powerful version of its CSR.

The much talked about LF-A is rumoured to get a 370kW V10, making it the most powerful production Lexus made. The front "mid-engine" layout is said to deliver outstanding handling.

The Hybrid Tourer Concept is being touted as a new incarnation of the SVX. We hope for Subaru's sake it will not carry the SVX tag if it every makes it into production. The Tourer is far more attractive and practical. The gullwing coupe combines the boxer four-cylinder with hybrid power. A pair of motors provide regenerative braking, pure electric drive or a combination of both. Apart from showcasing the hybrid drivetrain, the concept also has a new direct injected version of its 2.0-litre four cylinder engine, which is likely to appear in a few years.

Like many carmakers, Honda has spilled the beans on some of its cars. The CR-Z concept is the close to production ready version of its hybrid coupe, powered by a petrol 1.5-litre four cylinder and the same electric powerpack we see in the Civic hybrid. The Skydeck is a futuristic six-seater hybrid using ultra-light weight materials. The big wagon may provide a pointer to what the next-generation Odyssey might look like. Inside, the Skydeck has "floating" slim-line seats with entry provided by huge opening gullwing doors.

Carmakers love motorcycle-inspired cars. Nissan has lifted the wraps off its Land Glider, a compact four-wheel city commuter car. The two-seater uses electric motors and the driver and passenger sit in tandem, like a motorcycle. The car also leans into corners.

With green a continuing theme, Suzuki's Swift hybrid is a pointer to a new plug-in hybrid for short-distances.

The Hiroshima-based carmaker has concentrated on its new Sky Concept to showcase a new Sky-G petrol and Sky-D diesel engine, as well as a new six-speed automatic gearbox.

Do not think of the Concept PX-MiEV as a new off-roader. Mitsubishi says the PX crossover just houses a new plug-in hybrid system that gets around 3.0 litres/100km. Apart from its drivetrain, the interior uses seat upholstery that kills bacteria and gets rid of offensive odours. The i-MIEV Cargo is also a new commercial van concept taken from the i-MIEV electric car.

You may not have heard about it but this Japanese kit car specialist has combined a tuned 200kW 2.3-litre turbo engine from the Mazda3 MPS and a lightweight body to deliver a hot-shot sportscar, the Supasse V. The V gets an aluminum twin-tube monocoque spaceframe chassis with a fiberglass body. Suzusho is a specialist builder of lightweight sportscars with a great deal of experience with Lotus 7 replicas. The Supasse is expected to sell in Japan for around $80,000.


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