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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Dec 03 2011, 4:30 PM

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If there’s one thing you can count on from the Tokyo Motor Show, it’s wild and wacky concept cars – and lots of them. This year’s event didn’t disappoint either. Among the list of very cool concepts are cars like the Honda EV-Ster electric roadster, a NISMO-tuned Nissan Juke, the near-production and beautiful Mazda Takeri, the bold Subaru Advanced Tourer concept and even the hydrogen fuel cell powered FCV-R by Toyota.

In the totally strange category there were personal futuristic commuters like the Nissan PIVO 3 and Honda Micro Commuter Concept, topped only by ultra-strange machines like the Suzuki Q Concept and Daihatsu ShoCase.

GALLERY: 2011 Tokyo Motor Show Concept Cars

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See all these concept cars and more in the video below:

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 |  Dec 03 2011, 3:00 PM

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A look at VW‘s future styling, technology and perhaps even a new model, the Cross Coupe Concept was unveiled this week at the Tokyo Motor Show. Certainly a handsome machine, it looks close to production (outside and in), plus it features an all-new electric all-wheel drive system mated to a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

GALLERY: VW Cross Coupe Concept

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To find out more about the Cross Coupe, watch the video below:

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 |  Dec 03 2011, 1:30 PM

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It might not be the GT-R powered Juke R, but Nissan‘s Juke NISMO Concept is a strong indication that the Japanese automaker is planning a higher-performance version of the sport cross. From styling components, to handling upgrades and power adders, the NISMO-tuned Juke takes the sub-compact crossover’s fun level to the next level.

GALLERY: Nissan Juke NISMO Concept

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For full details on the Juke NISMO, watch the video below:

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 |  Dec 02 2011, 2:21 AM

10. Volkswagen Cross Coupe Concept


The only non-Japanese car to make our Top 10 cars list of the Tokyo Motor Show, the Volkswagen Cross Coupe Concept was also one of the few true surprises. While a show car, it makes use of an all-new VW platform, an impressive AWD plug-in hybrid system, while also taking a look at the future styling direction of the brand.

On the later note, that’s by no means a bad thing. And while hardly a significant departure from the current VW style guide, the Cross Coupe is certainly an attractive machine.

Built on the brand’s new MQB (modular transverse matrix) platform, the Cross Coupe is the first example of an electric differential with front and rear electric motors that can be “attached” to deliver an all-wheel drive system. VW claims the system can be used for two AWD scenarios, one for added grip and the other for an AWD electric only drive mode with 25 miles of range. (For a more extensive run-down on the system, see our post and video here). Paired with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine up front, VW claims a total power output of 261-hp and a 0-60 mph time of 7.0 seconds.

Making all this technology all the more significant is that it is being unveiled on a new platform, with the obvious suggestion that both could be paired together in a near-future production model.

 |  Dec 01 2011, 11:06 AM

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Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Mitsubishi PX-MiEV II is, as the name suggests, the second in a line of concepts previewing a future hybrid crossover by the brand.

Looking significantly more production ready than the last version, the crossover concept gets a plug-in hybrid system with an electric motor at the rear wheels mated to a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine moving the front wheels. Of note, the car features a version of Mitsu’s S-AWC (Super-All Wheel Control) system, as well as a Battery Drive Mode where it can operate on pure electric power.

Mitsubishi is targeting a 31 mile electric-only range with a 140 mpg rating and a total range of 500 miles.

GALLERY: Mitsubishi PX-MiEV II

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 |  Dec 01 2011, 6:00 AM

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As Honda and Toyota soldier on with the same old designs, Mazda has taken heed of the attractively styled products coming out of Korea these days and decided to fire back. Using the brand’s new Kodo design language the Takeri Concept is a look at the next-generation Mazda6. Based on an all-new platform and powered by a diesel engine it’s also the first example of a Mazda vehicle using the brand’s new i-ELOOP regenerative braking technology.

GALLERY: Mazda Takeri Concept

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For more on the Takeri concept, watch the video below:

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 |  Dec 01 2011, 5:00 AM

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Some will probably find Nissan‘s NV350 Concept seemingly out of place at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, but the next-generation light commercial van concept shows the direction that Nissan wishes to take with its NV model. Looking to raise the standard for the next generation of light commercial vans, the NV350 Concept features attractive styling, expanded cargo capacity and smart functionality.

Versatility was one of the main key points Nissan stressed when debuting their NV350 Concept at the show, touching on how the NV350 Concept’s cargo area is now longer and more spacious for van applications while varied seating arrangements gives the NV350 plenty of people-carrier and minibus applications. Comforts of the NV350 Concept include keyless entry, keyless push button ignition (a first in a commercial vehicle) and a foot-operated parking brake for convenience.

Though they didn’t go into detail, Nissan did express that the NV350 has improved fuel economy due to its efficient and advanced engine mated to an automatic transmission. A clean diesel option will also be available in some markets.

Nissan also announced that it plans to launch the NV350 in Japan by the summer of 2012. Outside markets weren’t disclosed.

GALLERY: Nissan NV350 Concept Official Photos

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GALLERY: Nissan NV350 Concept Debut

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 |  Dec 01 2011, 4:00 AM

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A unique Audi A1 got shown off at the Tokyo Motor Show today, garnering not only the attention of the media but also that of the locals. At first glance the Samurai Blue Audi A1 just looks like a car that can’t make up its mind as to what color it wants to be, but to the Japanese it sports the look of their national soccer team.

The A1 was built by Audi to show respect for the Japanese national soccer team and is a one-off model that will be sold and a part of its profit will be donated to charity. The Japan’s national soccer team is nicknamed Blue Samurai, with blue and white as the colors of the men and women’s soccer jerseys. (If you recall, the Japanese women’s team recently won the World Soccer Cup in Germany).

For the A1 Samurai Blue, Audi accented the blue and white with the red from the Japanese flag. It also features 18-inch wheels sporting an exclusive polygonal design that have also been painted red. We took a peek inside the A1 and saw that the black interior got contrast blue stitching while other pieces such as the air vent nozzles, inlays, center console and floor mats all got colorful blue accents.

It appears that the 1.4L TFSI engine remains untouched with 122-hp. Audi did mention that they’re planning on a limited edition A1, with its design based on the Samurai Blue, to go on sale in 2012.

In addition to this one-off model, Audi also officially unveiled the new 5-door A1 Sportback model in Tokyo.

GALLERY: Audi A1 Samurai Blue

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GALLERY: Audi A1 Sportback

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 |  Dec 01 2011, 2:33 AM

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As expected, Volkswagen debuted the Passat Alltrack at the Tokyo Motor Show and it was pretty much everything we expected it to be – a high-riding variant of the Passat wagon that’s offered in Europe. We have to admit we found it a little peculiar that VW would debut the Passat Alltrack in Japan but nonetheless, it got some attention on the show floor.

Featuring Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system, the Passat Alltrack will be introduced to the European market with two choices of 2.0L TDI powerplants. The exterior features flared fenders with a stainless-steel looking front bumper garnish and some matte-chrome accents. And for those wondering just how high-riding this Passat Alltrack is, its ground clearance has increase from 5.3-inches to 6.5-inches from the standard Passat wagon.

Take it as Volkswagen trying to mix a little of station wagon with SUV versatility, or something like that. It’s also worth mentioning that the Alltrack has the same off-road driving program seen on VW’s Touareg and Tiguan, which revises the vehicle’s ABS, electronic differential lock, throttle control and shift points to maximize traction. Hill descent is automatically turned on when grades are steeper than 10-percent.

Americans will probably never see the Alltrack stateside since VW wholeheartedly believes we’d choose an SUV over a wagon any day of the week. Guess they’re pretty spot on there.

GALLERY: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

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 |  Dec 01 2011, 1:00 AM

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A stylish look at the future of Subaru’s hybrid tech, the Advanced Tourer Concept is one of several Tokyo Motor Show debuts for the Japanese automaker. A wild looking wagon, it’s powered by a turbocharged direct-injection 4-cylinder boxer engine mated to an in-house hybrid drivetrain, working with Subaru’s all-wheel drive system.

GALLERY: Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept

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Find out more about the Advanced Tourer Concept in the video below:

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 |  Nov 30 2011, 10:34 PM

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There’s the Honda N-Box and the Daihatsu Pico, but nothing at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show can compare to the extreme levels of cuteness on display at the Suzuki booth.

In total, Suzuki has presented three new concept cars, ranging from near-production to downright absurd. In the latter category is the Q Concept (above), which looks more like a Discman (remember those?) than a car and offers an emissions-free electric range of six miles.

Next up is the Regina concept, which looks close to production, with a fresh styling perspective and a conventional gasoline engine. Thanks to significant attention paid to weight reduction, it manages an incredible 72.3-mpg.

Finally there’s the Swift EV Hybrid, which gets its confusing name from a range-extender powerplant similar to that found in the Chevy Volt. Offering between 12 and 18 miles of electric travel, the gasoline engine then kicks in to recharge the batteries to deliver added range.

GALLERY: Suzuki Q Concept

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GALLERY: Suzuki Regina Concept

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GALLERY: Suzuki Swift EV Hybrid Concept

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 |  Nov 30 2011, 9:55 PM

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While Honda and Toyota have been messing around with electric car concepts for quite some time now, Nissan has been selling the Leaf EV for a whole year now. Aiming to display its expertise in electric vehicles, the company’s Tokyo Motor Show display included a slew of emissions free models, ranging from the PIVO 3 personal commuter, to the stunning ESFLOW sports car.

Sharing the stage with those is the Leaf NISMO, tuned by the brand’s motorsports division. With Nissan having already announced a Leaf NISMO RC race car, purpose built for track duty, this is more of a street tuner version, sporting custom aerodynamics, some 18-inch wheels and an upgraded (and lowered suspension).

Nissan hasn’t officially announced any performance upgrades, although some reports indicate a slight bump in power for the NISMO version.

It may be just a concept for now, but if Nissan gets serious about electric cars in motorsports, then you can expect NISMO parts for electric cars to follow.

GALLERY: Nissan Leaf NISMO

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 |  Nov 30 2011, 9:30 PM

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Nissan has unveiled its third iteration of the PIVO concept at the Tokyo Motor Show and emphasized that the PIVO 3 is what Nissan envisions to be a more realistic electric vehicle of the future rather than just another concept. Building on the PIVO 1 and PIVO 2, Nissan’s third creation from the PIVO portfolio evolves in the direction of “smart community” with greater feasibility, credibility and an extended scope of mobile performance.

The ultra-compact city commuter looks to be a more practical, albeit futuristic, approach to sustainability in the real world. And one of the main features Nissan wanted to talk about at the Tokyo Motor Show was the PICO 3′s Automated Valet Parking (AVP). AVP is geared towards revolutionizing the parking experience allowing the driver to never have to find a parking space, physically park the car or remember where they parked their car. By using specially-equipped parking lots, the PIVO 3 will park itself and recharge itself while parked, or even sell excess power to the grid within the parking lot. When the driver is ready for their vehicle to pick them up, a quick use of the smartphone will summon the PICO 3 to their destination.

Taking a look at the PIVO 3 at the show, Nissan showed off its 1+2 seating layout and it’s clear that the design was built to emphasize a very agile commuter vehicle that could effortlessly park in tight spaces. The outside styling is definitely bold, but not completely out of the realm of being realistic. The interior is definitely a tad futuristic, but Nissan also wanted to show off its Around View Monitor system technology, that helps reveal the car’s surroundings and help minimize blind spots.

GALLERY: Nissan PIVO 3

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 |  Nov 30 2011, 9:10 PM

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Mitsubishi has officially unveiled its new global small car, which is expected to help expand the brand’s lineup in North America. Bringing back the Mirage badge this sub-compact offering is just 146-inches in length, or roughly a foot shorter than the Honda Fit.

Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, the display car features a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine that uses start-stop technology to achieve a 70-mpg rating on the less strict Japanese test cycle. Still, that number should result in over 40-mpg on the U.S. EPA cycle, putting it ahead of rivals.

While 3-cylinder cars in North America aren’t unheard of (take the old Subaru Justy as an example), it’s still unlikely that Mitsubishi would offer this engine option in the U.S.

Mitsubishi hasn’t said as much, but based on the design (hub-caps included) it appears as though the concept was to create a low-cost budget vehicle along the lines of the Nissan Versa, rather than a stylish and high-content small car like the Ford Fiesta.

GALLERY: Mitsubishi Mirage

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 |  Nov 30 2011, 7:33 PM

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Sharing Toyota‘s stage with the production Prius Plug-in Hybrid at the Tokyo Motor Show are two eco-conscious concept cars that give a clear hint as the the automaker’s future green car plans. The FT-EV III Concept is a near production electric city car, that will go on sale next year (branded as a Scion in North America). Moving several years beyond is the FCV-R fuel cell concept. Looking like something that actually might make it to production, Toyota has said it plans to offer a fuel cell vehicle to fleets by 2015.

GALLERY: Toyota FCV-R Fuel Cell Concept

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For more on both cars, watch the video below:

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 |  Nov 30 2011, 9:45 AM

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The 500 hp Juke R might be a wild performance machine, but the track capable crossover isn’t likely to ever see the inside of a showroom. More likely is a custom NISMO tuned model, or in-house aftermarket accessories from the brand’s racing division.

Unveiled today at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Juke NISMO Concept gets pearl white paint with red accents. Along with the obvious bodywork and 19-inch wheels with an upgraded suspension system, while the cabin receives red accenting throughout.

And despite it being a concept, we’re pretty confident that Nismo will be offering these parts for Juke enthusiasts in the near future.

It’s still unknown to us what power modifications were made to the 1.6L turbocharged engine, but hopefully Nismo will give out more information on that soon. Either way, this “first glimpse into Nismo’s future” has, surprisingly, turned out to be a promising one.

GALLERY: Nissan Juke NISMO

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See AutoGuide’s Complete 2011 Tokyo Motor Show Coverage here and watch video of the Juke NISMO below:

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 |  Nov 30 2011, 9:07 AM

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The sister car to Toyota’s GT 86 sports coupe, the Subaru BRZ and its sibling were both unveiled today at the Tokyo Motor Show. Sharing the same underpinnings and with nearly identical bodywork and interiors, both cars come powered by the same direct-injection 4-cylinder boxer engine delivering around 200-hp.

GALLERY: Subaru BRZ

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GALLERY: Subaru BRZ GT300 Race Car

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Find out more about the Subaru BRZ here or by watching the video below:

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 |  Nov 30 2011, 8:18 AM

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Years of anticipation have all lead to the debut of Toyota‘s new compact sports car at the Tokyo Motor Show today. Referred to by many different concept names, at its word premiere company CEO Akio Toyoda called it, simply, the 86.

Powered by a direct-injection 1.6-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine it makes around 200-hp and when combined with a curb weight of just 2,700 lbs should deliver solid acceleration and a dynamic driving experience.

Get more Toyota 86 news and info at fr-sforum.com

GALLERY: Toyota 86

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For more on the Toyota 86, watch the video below:

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 |  Nov 30 2011, 4:23 AM

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Volkswagen unveiled the Cross Coupe Concept today at the Tokyo Motor Show, looking to change the way we view SUVs in the future. The Cross Coupe Concept is an all-wheel-drive, plug-in hybrid and looks as if a traditional four-door coupe and an SUV got melded together in the design center.

This concept is also Volkswagen’s first public vehicle sporting their new engineering design based on their new “modular transverse matrix” or MQB for short. In terms of dimensions, the concept is longer than a Golf and shorter than a Tiguan while the width and the height also lands it square in between the two VW counterparts.

Visually, the Cross Coupe Concept appears compact, but is dynamic in its appearance – thanks in part to a set of wheels that appear lifted off a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. While it does sport traditional Volkswagen design elements, it also features a completely new light and grille treatment. The rear has steeply sloping angles and new light clusters combined with traditional SUV hefty bumpers.

Under the hood, Volkswagen is showing off two electric motors – one in the front, one in the rear – combined with a TSI direct-injection turbo engine. The front electric motor generates 54-hp and 133 lb-ft of torque while the rear generates 114-hp and 199 lb-ft of torque. Overall power comes in at 261-hp allowing the concept to go 0-62 mph in just seven seconds and has a top speed of 125-mph. It can travel up to 25-miles on just electric power.

Lastly, Volkswagen is showing off another innovation in the concept thanks to its all-wheel-drive system with electric drive shaft. The rear axle is driven by the rear electric motor while power is supplied to the rear electric motor by the one at the front. This means that the flow of electrical energy replaces the conventional transfer of power by a drive shaft, creating room in the central tunnel to hold the lithium-ion battery. All of that means a very low center of gravity giving the concept dynamic handling capabilities.

GALLERY: Volkswagen Cross Coupe Concept Official Photos

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GALLERY: VW Cross Coupe Concept Debut

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Click here to see AutoGuide’s complete 2011 Tokyo Motor Show Coverage

See video of the Cross Coupe below:

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 |  Nov 30 2011, 12:51 AM

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Overwhelming proof that wagons, and for that matter hybrids, can in fact be cool, is the Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept. Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show today, the car is powered by the next evolution of Subaru’s hybrid powertrain that is expected to arrive in a production model in 2013.

A followup to the Hybrid Tourer Concept, this uses a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder direct-injection boxer gasoline engine mated to an in-house hybrid system – not a Toyota product. It features both regenerative braking and a lithium-ion battery back, both increasingly standard-fare in the hybrid market. Of note, the ATC also features an electric all-wheel drive system (this is a Subaru after all), operating as a front-drive model under most circumstances, while electric power can be sent to the rear wheels for added grip.

Purposeful features aside, the ATC is simply stunning, with a sleek wagon body and aggressive stance. It also might be the least-tacky example of scissor doors we’ve come across, paired with rear suicide doors, allowing an incredible look into the stunning cabin complete with plenty of natural wood.

GALLERY: Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept

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See video of the Advanced Tourer Concept below:

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 |  Nov 29 2011, 11:15 PM

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Unveiled as the Aqua at the Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota will soon offer this small hybrid in North America as the fourth member of the Prius family of vehicles. Billed as the Prius c for the U.S. this Yaris-based machine is powered by a 1.5-liter Hybrid Synergy Drive engine which Toyota claims will achieve as much as 82-94 mpg on the less stringent Japanese test cycle.

Don’t expect numbers that high when it arrives in North America but the car will out-shine the current Prius, which already achieves an incredible 50 mpg average rating. And as an added bonus, it’s certain to undercut the Prius in terms of price too.

Look for full details when Toyota unveils our version of the Prius c at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

GALLERY: Toyota Aqua

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 |  Nov 29 2011, 10:52 PM

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Three years of rumors, concepts and leaks have come to this: the debut of the Toyota 86 sports car at the Tokyo Motor Show. Introduced by company CEO Akio Toyoda, a man dedicated to rebuilding Toyota’s enthusiast base, he launched an all new slogan, boldly proclaiming that the giant Japanese automakers is, “Fun to Drive, Again”.

As you no doubt have already hear the car is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder direct-injection boxer engine with a 12.5:1 compression ratio making 200-hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. It’s not a lot of punch, but with a curb weight right around 2,700 lbs, it should deliver plenty of fun.

See full details here and check out AutoGuide’s extensive 2011 Tokyo Motor Show coverage here.

GALLERY: 2013 Toyota 86

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See video of the car from it’s world premiere in Tokyo below:

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 |  Nov 29 2011, 10:37 PM

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Looking into the more distant future is what the Tokyo Motor Show is all about and Honda has continued a long line of wild concepts by debuting the AC-X concept today.

Powering the car is a 1.6-liter gasoline engine mated to a plug-in hybrid system, which Honda claims will deliver a 260 mpg rating on the plug-in cycle. After the 30 mile EV cruising range is depleted, it operates as a conventional hybrid with 85 mpg rating. Impressive, yes, but this isn’t the far-out future tech aspect of the AC-X (Advanced Cruiser eXperience).

As the name might suggest the concept car is actually able to drive itself (presumably), and with the push of a button the Automatic-Drive Mode is engaged, causing the steering column to retract into the dash and the front seat to recline, letting the driver relax on log highway cruises.

GALLERY: Honda AC-X Concept

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 Tokyo Motor Show Coverage here

 |  Nov 29 2011, 9:29 PM

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As expected, Subaru has debuted the production 2013 BRZ at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show and it looks as good in the flesh as it does in the photos. With all the previews and reveals ahead of its official debut, there were no real surprises once the 2013 Subaru BRZ was seen on the show floor.

The joint sports car between Subaru and Toyota showed off its 2.0L Horizontally-Opposed Boxer engine packing 200-hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. The 17-inch wheels look fitting on the sports coupe, while the overall stance of the vehicle is definitely attractive to the eye. Obviously its styling doesn’t exactly scream Subaru out to us, but its flared fenders and rear wheel arches do remind us of typical Subaru.

On the inside, the smaller steering wheel is comfortable to hold and seems fitting for the coupe, while the seats were surprisingly more comfortable than we originally anticipated them to be.

Unfortunately we weren’t able to experience whether or not this BRZ is truly a “Pure Handling Delight”, at least not yet.

GALLERY: 2013 Subaru BRZ Official Photos

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See video of the car from its world debut below:

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