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Subaru to Bring BRZ STI Sport Concept to 2017 Tokyo Auto Show

Subaru to Bring BRZ STI Sport Concept to 2017 Tokyo Auto Show

Is the BRZ finally getting a more powerful engine?

Subaru will join the 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon next month with no fewer than six different cars, including a couple of concepts cars wearing the STi badge, one of which is the BRZ STi Sport. Although the BRZ STi isn’t exactly a new idea, the Tokyo-bound concept brings new features and may represent yet another step toward a production model with actual STi upgrades.

Details as to what it may bring to the table are scant and there’s just one picture to go by, but Subaru promises "exclusive exterior and interior parts," and more importantly, "STi-tuned driving performance." What that means is yet unknown, but the preliminary photo shows a BRZ with a more aggressive bumper, an STi badge, sporty looking side skirts, new multi-spoke wheels, and what seem to be red-painted Brembo brake calipers.

Hopefully the brakes aren’t the only upgrade in the drivetrain department and the BRZ finally gets the extra horsepower it deserves. If previous STi Sport models are any indication, the BRZ is also in for adjustable Bilstein dampers, firmer springs, and a revised power steering system.

The coupe won’t be the only STi Sport Concept shown in Tokyo, as Subaru will also showcase a version based on the WRX S4. The Japanese firm will also bring a Levorg and Impreza G4 with STi performance parts, the WRX STi NBR Challenge 2016 race car, which won two consecutive championships in the SP3T class at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, and the BRZ GT300 2016 created for Super GT racing.

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A Company You've Probably Forgotten About Will Bring 11 Concepts To 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon

A Company You’ve Probably Forgotten About Will Bring 11 Concepts To 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon

Kei car galore from Japan!

Daihatsu may no longer sell cars in the United States and Europe, therefore making it a rather obscure marque on these continents, but it remains the oldest surviving Japanese manufacturer. What’s more, the brand is quite active in Japan and other Asian markets, where it builds and offers very small vehicles known as kei cars. Daihatsu’s current lineup of production models is quite big and the Japanese automaker just revealed no fewer than 11 concepts that will make their debut at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show in January.

Based on existing nameplates such as the Boon, Thor, Move, Copen, and the Tanto, the concept cars are separated into four categories, each being aimed at a certain type of customer. There’s Sporza for the sporty driver, Grand Custom for those who want a more elegant look, and Beach Cruisin’ and Cross Field for enthusiasts spending their weekends at the beach or on the road, respectively.

There’s no word whether any of these concept will become production models, but I can definitely see Daihatsu introducing new trim levels based on them. We should find out more at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, but in the meantime let’s have a closer look at what we already know in the article below.

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2017 Mazda MX-5 RF Custom Style

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF Custom Style

The targa-top Miata gets its first special edition treatment

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has earned its place in automotive history as arguably the most successful compact sports car in the industry. It’s never had insane amounts of power, but its combination of size, performance, and versatility has turned into an all-time great. The model is over 25 years old and has seen four generations worth of changes; that longevity is another one of its most notable claims to fame. This year though, Mazda did something to the MX-5 that it hasn’t done in the model’s long and proud history. It reconfigured the sports car with a targa roof, christening it as the MX-5 Miata RF, and giving it an extra jolt life that it probably didn’t need on its way to becoming an all-timer. Not content with just introducing the MX-5 RF, Mazda is taking it to another level with the introduction of a special edition version of the Miata RF, called the RF Custom Style.

Scheduled to make its debut at the 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon in early Januaryk, the MX-5 RF Custom Style is the first special edition treatment given to the new Miata variant. We all know that Mazda’s not bashful about giving the MX-5 special edition varieties – the just-announced MX-5 Arctic Edition is proof of that – so it’s not a surprise that it’s giving some of that love to the MX-5 RF.

In true Mazda fashion, the exclusive features of the Miara RF Custom Style aren’t just cosmetic by nature. It’s not just about making the car look racier than it already is. It’s about enhancing the performance credentials of the rear-wheel-drive, compact sports roadster and make it even more hellacious to drive on the track. It’s true that the RF variant of the Miata is heavier than the standard version on account of the retractable roof panel and the lift-up flying buttresses. Mazda didn’t specifically mention it, but there’s a good chance that added aerodynamic components on the RF Custom Style is Mazda’s way of addressing the extra weight and improve the car’s performance to “standard” Miata levels.

There’s no way of confirming that at this point because the automaker did not release the performance figures of the MX-5 RF Custom Style. The puzzle pieces fit though and in the absence of anything concrete, it’s worth establishing that there’s really more to the MX-5 Miata RF Custom Style than meets the (naked) eye.

The numbers should be impressive, but there is a always a downside when it comes to special edition MX-5s. More often than not, they don’t make their way to the US market and unless Mazda specifically says otherwise, don’t expect the MX-5 Miata RF Custom Style to find its way here too.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Mazda MX-5 Miata Custom RF Style.

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2016 Toyota ViRA

2016 Toyota ViRA

It’s common knowledge that Toyotas are among the most reliable cars in the world. They’re also quite affordable across the range, and some of them are sportier than you might think. On the other hand, the Japanese company is still struggling to attract a younger audience in its showrooms, and the recently updated Camry and Avalon didn’t quite do it. However, Toyota is willing to try just about anything in today’s competitive market, and its brand-new concept for the 2016 Tokyo Auto Show proves just that.

Dubbed ViRA, this sleek and sporty looking compact crossover is, according to Toyota, a mash-up between the Vitz subcompact (known as the Yaris in the U.S.) and the RAV4. Even the name suggests that, as the company took the Vi out of the Vitz and the RA out of the RAV4 and came up with ViRA. Not exactly inspirational for a car name, but we’ve seen concepts with weirder names.

Toyota didn’t have much to say about this new show piece, and there’s no word as to what might lurk under the long hood or whether or not it will spawn a production model. Details should be unveiled as the ViRA makes its official debut at the Tokyo Auto Show next week, so make sure you stick around for the full rundown. Meanwhile, have a look at our speculative review below.

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2016 Mazda Roadster RS Racing Concept

2016 Mazda Roadster RS Racing Concept

2015 may be over soon, but 2016 is just around the corner and so are next big automotive events of the year, the Detroit Auto Show and the Tokyo Auto Salon. While the former will mark the introduction of several new vehicles for the U.S. market, the latter will showcase an array of exciting concept cars, one of which is the Mazda Roadster RS Racing.

Although the name might suggest I’m talking about a brand-new model, the RS Racing concept is actually based on the fourth-generation MX-5 Miata. Having already spawned the Spyder and Speedster concepts we saw at the 2015 SEMA in November, the Miata will take a slightly different form in Tokyo, where it will share features with Racing concepts based on the CX-3 crossover and the Mazda6 sedan.

Details are absent as of this writing, as Mazda only released a few photos of the show car. But, info should become available as soon as the Tokyo Auto Salon opens its doors, so make sure you stick around for the full rundown. Meanwhile, have a look below to learn what we already know about this roadster.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda Roadster RS Racing Concept.

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2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X HKS Concept Final

2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X HKS Concept Final

Marking over two decades of continuous production, during which no less than 10 generations of the model were made and millions of fans were created, Mitubishi’s Lancer Evolution nameplate is about to enter its final year, but not without one last battle cry in the form of the sports car’s most powerful variant yet. Some say and hope that the said model will be previewed by a concept car that’s scheduled for the upcoming 2015 Tokyo Auto Salon, which runs from January 9 to 11, 2015, called the Evo X HKS Concept Final.

While Mitsubishi has made it pretty clear that the Evo X will be the last of its kind, with a future replacement model most definitely switching to a hybrid powertrain and no rally heritage, there is still some life left in the current generation. In the fall of 2014, a Mitsubishi USA spokesperson let it slip that a limited "going away" edition of the Evo X will be launched in 2015, albeit that may not the model that is set to hit the Tokyo Motor Show.

Featuring a rather monstrous performance upgrade courtesy of known Japanese tuner HKS, the Lancer Evolution X HKS Concept Final has a rather unassuming exterior look even though it packs a knockout punch underneath that vented hood. No less than 480 horsepower are squeezed out of its four-cylinder, thanks to a HKS turbocharger, new intake and exhaust system, a better intercooler and a new ECU. Just like in a regular EVO X GSR, the power is sent to all four wheels via a five-speed manual transmission.

Currently there is no official confirmation about the possibility of the car entering production, but the signs do point to something of the kind. The only bad news is that it will most likely be limited to its home market, although UK and U.S. versions are also likely to follow in the summer of 2015. Until then, the Lancer Evolution X HKS Concept Final represents a pretty nice way to end a legendary lineage of rally-inspired sports cars.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X HKS Concept Final.

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2015 Mazda CX-5 Tokyo Concept

2015 Mazda CX-5 Tokyo Concept

Mazda has been a regular participant at the Tokyo Auto Salon and it’s going to be no different when the 2015 installment of the aftermarket show opens its doors in January. One of the Japanese automaker’s offerings at the event is the CX-5 Tokyo Concept, a showpiece model created to display what we can only imagine to be future options for the SUV.

Actually, “showpiece” might be a stretch to describe the CX-5 Tokyo Concept, largely because the breadth of customization doesn’t really cover a whole of real estate. It sports a new black finish and has a new set of admittedly awesome 19-inch, darkened alloy wheels. Other than that, there’s not a lot going on as far as the CX-5 Tokyo Concept is concerned.

Other than the wheels and paint, only the sharpest-eyed observers will notice the upgrades Mazda gave the concept.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mazda CX-5 Tokyo Concept.

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2015 Mazda CX-3 Racing Concept

2015 Mazda CX-3 Racing Concept

The all-new Mazda CX-3 made its debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show and now here it is dressed up in an assembly of cosmetic and aerodynamic goodness, ready to be presented at the 2015 Tokyo Auto Salon in January 2015. This just goes to show how important the CX-3 is for Mazda. The crossover is formally called the CX-3 Racing Concept and while it does use the word “concept” in the loosest way imaginable, it still offers a glimpse of what the crossover would look like if it was fitted with a bevy of aerodynamic enhancements.

The changes, while minimal, provide a dramatic change of pace from the standard CX-3. The lowered state of the Racing Concept is the most eye-catching difference between the two versions. The blacked-out alloy wheels aren’t shabby additions, either.

Mazda has given no indication on what it’s got planned for the CX-3 Racing Concept after it makes its debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon. But as is the case with “concepts” like this, a positive reaction from the public and the media usually means that we’ll see these enhancements in the CX-3’s options list in the near future.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mazda CX-3 Racing Concept.

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2014 Toyota GRMN 86 Concept

2014 Toyota GRMN 86 Concept

Here in the U.S., we are prepping for the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, on the other side of the globe, Japan is in the early stages of the first auto salon of the year, which is in Tokyo. While the Tokyo show will likely not be as big as the American show, there are plenty of makers set to show off some very cool vehicles.

On of them is this GRMN 86 concept that "incorporates the technical expertise gained through the 24 Hours Nürburgring endurance race." The first details offered on the concept suggest it will feature an updated powertrain, strengthened body, a lower center of gravity and a lower curb weight than a base Toyota GT86.

The concept’s roof, hood and trunk are made from carbon fiber, while the windows are made from polycarbonate. Both of these materials help drop the GT86’s weight.

No details were released on the performance figures, but this new GRMN 86 concept also received sport-tuned suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes and a mechanical differential, so it will surely be more fun to drive.

Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota GT86.

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2014 Toyota GT86 by Gazoo Racing

2014 Toyota GT86 by Gazoo Racing

Gazoo Racing from Japan is working on a couple of special cars for the 2014 Tokyo motor show. As you may already know, Gazoo Racing has been an active presence in the motorsport scene, as it has also raced in the Nurburgring endurance races among others.

Apart from the other concepts the team has produced over the years, Gazoo Racing will bring a very special, custom Toyota GT86 to the Tokyo auto salon.

The custom Toyota GT86 by Gazoo Racing will be revealed on January 10, 2014. We tried to snoop around for some more information about the upcoming sports car, but sadly, the company hasn’t provided any more details about it.

The Gazoo Racing concept will feature a large rear wing shown here in the teaser image. It could also get a full body kit and minor aerodynamic tweaks. Lightweight racing wheels with larger rotors for improved braking and handling performance.

We are waiting for Gazoo Racing to formally announce the 2014 Toyota GT86 concept, and until then, we could only speculate as to what upgrades could end up on the new car. We will be updating this story as and when the official information is out.

Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota GT86

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2014 Mazda Axela Sport Mazda Design Concept

2014 Mazda Axela Sport Mazda Design Concept

The 2014 Tokyo Auto Salon will feature its share of new concepts coming from Japanese automakers. Mazda, for one, has a handful that it’s prepared to unveil and one of them, at least the one that got our attention is called the Axela Sport Mazda Design Concept.

Don’t be fooled by the Axela name, this model is actually the Mazda3 in other parts of the world other than Japan. So it takes the look of one and thanks to a MazdaSpeed exterior, it’s been treated to a slew of new aerodynamic components that’s highlighted by a front splitter and aerodynamic side skirts.

On top of that, special graphics were also splashed into the Axela’s body, not to mention the inclusion of performance modifiers like a strengthened chassis, Brembo brakes, and a new set of black alloy wheels.

The package itself is quite impressive for the model, giving credence tot he prevailing thought that the Axela, or the 3 as its known in this part of the world, is a model that’s right for customization.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Mazda3

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Subaru to Bring Five LEVORG Concepts to the 2014 Tokyo Auto Salon

Well, that didn’t take long.

The Subaru LEVORG Concept — it wasn’t so much a concept, actually, but more of a near-production model — made its debut at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show and Subaru isn’t wasting any time developing a multitude of concepts based on the sports wagon.

There are five concepts in total, all of which somehow carry the "LEVORG" nomenclature: the LEVORG STI Performance, the LEVORG Premium Sports, the LEVORG Prova, the LEVORG Syms and, the LEVORG Corazon Sportier.

To be honest, we don’t know a whole lot about these concepts, other than the obvious that they all share the LEVORG name. Other than that, it’s matter of deciphering the names and figuring out which of these concepts will in all likelihood get our attention.

The most obvious is the LEVORG STI Performance, which contains the three most awesome letters of Subaru’s alphabet: S-T-I. There’s also the LEVORG Premium Sports, which we imagine to be somewhere along the lines of a BRZ-derived sports car that doesn’t pack quite as much power as the STI Performance.

As for the other three, those names (Prova, Syms, and Corazon Sportier) don’t do a whole lot in kick-starting our imaginations. Nevertheless, we’re still looking forward to seeing all five LEVORG concepts when they make their debuts at the 2014 Tokyo Auto Salon this coming January.

Click past the jump to read about the original LEVORG Concept.

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2013 Suzuki X-Lander

2013 Suzuki X-Lander

Here in the U.S., we are getting ready for the 2013 SEMA show and the Los Angeles Auto Show, on the opposite side of the world in Japan, folks are getting ready for the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, which takes place from November 23rd to December 1st, 2013.

It looks like Suzuki one automaker that is taking this show very seriously, as it will unveil four brand-new concept cars and several motorcycles. All of the concepts are part of the company’s new "“Let’s Create a Brand New Story" theme, and are based on the "Small Cars for a Big Future" slogan.

The first concept — called the X-Lander — is based on the small Suzuki Jimny, and it looks more like a toy rather than a real car. The concept was designed as a four-wheel-drive hybrid vehicle, so it is ideal for crowded cities or hard off-road driving.

Click past the jump to read more about the Suzuki X-Lander concept.

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DAMD Builds an LF-A Kit for the Toyota GT 86

DAMD Builds an LF-A Kit for the Toyota GT 86

There is arguing about the striking differences between Toyota’s GT 86 and Lexus’ LF-A supercar. Honestly, the former doesn’t even belong in the latter’s category.

Even though there’s a huge disparity in performance, it doesn’t mean that the GT 86 can’t look the part of the LF-A, which is something the imaginative people from DAMD decided to do when they went and gave the GT 86 a full LF-A makeover.

At first glance, you can hardly tell the difference between this rechristened "LFT-86" from the standard version. Once you take a closer look, however, you’ll notice that the cars bumper and the triangular-shaped side vents are near replicas of the mighty Lexus supercar’s bumper and side vents. The side skirts have also been fitted to mimic the LF-A, as has the rear bumper with the honeycomb vents, the diffuser, and, last but not least, the inverted pyramid-style tri-tailpipes.

About the only thing missing is the 560-horsepower, 4.8-liter V-10 engine of the LF-A. Guess anybody who gets this kit will have to settle for the 200 ponies of the GT 86.

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2013 Toyota Mark X G Sports Carbon Roof Concept

2013 Toyota Mark X G Sports Carbon Roof Concept

TheToyota Mark X G Sports Carbon Roof Concept is a car that we probably won’t ever get to see on these shores. Having said that, it’s a pretty popular ride in Japan and Toyota is doing its part to drum up even more interest on the sedan in its homeland.

At the Tokyo Auto Salon, the Mark X G Sports Carbon Roof Concept was displayed. For this model, though, the Japanese automaker decided to introduce a carbon-fiber roof that not only looks pretty cool, but also shaves off 6 kg (13.2 pounds) of fat from the sedan. With the new roof, Toyota was also able to lower the car’s center of gravity by 3.5 mm (0.137 inches), which is always a good thing when trying to improve handling. The carbon-fiber weave pattern on the roof is an unmistakable reminder of the material’s high-quality characteristics.

Add that to a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 318 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque and mates to a six-speed automatic transmission, and you have a car that’s poised to be a hot ticket in Japan. Wish we had this baby stateside because it would get considerable interest here too.

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