Toyota will finally resurrect the Supra in 2018

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HYPEBEAST/DesignBoom (by T.S. Fox):

Originally released as a Celica offshoot with 2000GT roots back in 1978, the Supra grew to become one of Toyota’s most beloved vehicles before it was unceremoniously discontinued back in 2002. Thankfully, Toyota righted that wrong in 2014, taking to the Detroit Auto Show to showcase the FT-1 — a Calty Design Research-crafted spiritual successor of sorts to the old fastback coupe and one that fans hoped signaled a sign of things to come for the much loved front-engine, rear-wheel drive setup. Now it looks like those Supra hopes may become a reality: Toyota has confirmed that it’s resurrecting the car for a return in just a few short years.

Said to build upon the aforementioned FT-1, the brand new Supra will be positioned above the 86 in the manufacturer’s lineup and will likely be decidedly more complex, powerful and high-tech than the rebadged Scion FR-S. And if the FT-1′s design language is any indication, the new and improved Supra will come with an aggressive, track-inspired exterior marked by airflow management systems and aerodynamic curves; it may even employ the FT-1′s sleek retractable rear wing for added downforce.

Stay tuned for updates on the Supra’s welcome return and mark your calendars: the fan-favorite Toyota returns to the road in 2018.

Subaru’s WRX STI S207, Japan-only and limited to just 400 units

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Japanese Subaru fans are in for a treat as the manufacturer has unveiled a special limited edition take on its WRX STI. Dubbed the WRX STI S207, the Japanese exclusive boasts a bevy of updates — the headline of which is a 2.0-liter turbo boxer engine.

Thanks to a new ECU and twin scroll ball bearing turbocharger, the new engine now offers 318 lb-ft of torque while a performance muffler and exhaust pipe have been added. Other tweaks include Bilstein front struts, rear dampers, and coil springs, as well as a mesh front grille, larger front under-spoiler, metallic side sill moldings, a new rear bumper, a Brembo braking system and an 11:1 steering-gear ratio. The design even employs a completely reworked instrument panel, engine switch, shift knob, and heated Recaro bucket seats while the Vehicle Dynamics Control and Active Torque have been tuned specifically for the model.

Limited to just 400 units, the WRX STI S207 will soon be available in “Crystal Black Silica,” “Crystal White Pearl,” “WR Blue Pearl” and “NBR Challenge Package Yellow.”

Toyota’s S-FR entry-level sportscar concept makes its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show

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Toyota has steadily built a reputation for producing reliable cars at an affordable price and judging by this early preview, its latest entry-level sportscar concept seems to be no exception. Set to premier at the end of the month at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, the S-FR is a lightweight model that provides an agile and responsive drive at a fairly low cost.
Equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, a simple interior outfitted with all the essentials, and a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout, there was a rumor that a cheaper alternative to the GT86 was in the works and this new concept could very well be on the market by 2018.
Stay tuned for more updates on the Tokyo Motor Show.
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Lexus creates a fully drivable “origami inspired” cardboard car

To celebrate the skills of its craftspeople, Lexus has created a full-size, drivable cardboard replica of its IS sedan using 1,700 sheets of precision-cut cardboard. Each 10mm thick, the cardboard sheets had to be glued together by hand in sequence with a water-based wood glue, taking 10 minutes to set every time.

The project was carried out by LaserCut Works and Scales and Models using a digital 3D model of the sedan provided by Lexus, and took a total of three months to assemble. The cardboard replica was then mounted atop a steel and aluminum frame with an attached electric motor, thus allowing the car to be driven.

Flying car unveiled at China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin

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Shanghaiist (by Daniel Cunningham):

Weighing in at about 100kg with retractable propellor arms and a streamlined body, the “Fighting Gazelle” is the answer to Chinese Sci-fi fans’ dreams. The flying car was unveiled last week at the 5-day China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin, which this year showcased 50 new helicopters.

The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is developing the car to deal with rough terrain, and especially stretches of road with obstructions. Hong Xiao, the head of the helicopter office in the AVIC, told CCTV: “While you are driving to where the road is broken, or facing a gully, you can press a button to lift the car. It will then fly over the obstacles and reach the other side of the road.” He added that the propellor arms retract to return the vehicle into car-mode.

The current 100kg model isn’t a vehicle for transporting people, the makers are still working on a heavier version capable of doing so. Like a drone, it has passed unmanned flight tests and future models are intended for military usage. They may even go into commercial production.

Hong says, “Our next plan is to make one weighing around two to three tons in two years time.”

Mitsubishi Motors to sell Illinois plant and move U.S. production to Japan

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Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will stop making vehicles in the U.S. this year and close down its plant in Illinois if no buyers are found.

Bloomberg ( Jie Ma):

The Japanese automaker will cease producing its only model, the Outlander Sport, at the Bloomington-Normal plant at the end of November, it said in a statement today. The SUV will be exported from Okazaki in Japan to North America from the next model year. A final board decision is pending July 30.

Mitsubishi Motors’ move follows that of Suzuki Motor Corp., which exited the U.S. car market in 2012 after three decades. While U.S. auto demand is recovering, smaller Japanese car companies are finding it difficult to get enough orders to run their plants economically. A weaker yen also makes producing in Japan for export more viable, though Mitsubishi President Tetsuro Aikawa said foreign-exchange rates had no bearing on the decision.

Production at the U.S. plant, opened in 1988 as a joint venture with then Chrysler Corp., fell to as low as 18,500 units a year in 2009 from a peak of 222,000 units in 2000 due to the economic crisis and the end of supplying Chrysler. A slump in Russian demand since last year also dented output at the Illinois factory, which produced vehicles for export.

Aikawa said that the closure of the plant won’t have a big impact on its mid-term U.S. sales target. If no buyers are found, the company will take appropriate measures to settle the employees’ retirements, he said. Mitsubishi Motors will focus its production in Southeast Asia, Japan and Russia, he said.

Mitsubishi Motors rose for the first time in four days, trading 4.5 percent higher at 1,090 yen as of 1:58 p.m. in Tokyo trading. The benchmark Topix index fell 1.3 percent.

Jay Leno takes a closer look at the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo

Taking advantage of Le Mans’ notoriously strict regulations on the rear aerodynamics as opposed to the front of the car, Nissan has chosen to build its entry, the GT-R LM Nismo, in a front-engine, front-drive configuration decidedly opposed to the mid-engine layouts from Audi, Porsche and Toyota.

With the driven wheels up front, the bulk of the downforce thus shifts to the front as well. This unconventional decision, to say the least, caught the eye of Jay Leno, who brought it into his garage to have a closer inspection of the race car with Nissan’s chief engineer Zack Eakin, before Nissan GT Academy Season 3 winner Jann Mardenborough takes it around the track for a spin.

Watch the episode above and find the rest of Jay Leno’s Garage here.