Toyota Previews Sporty S-FR, Steampunk Dune Buggy Before Tokyo Motor Show

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Toyota on Thursday released a preview of what to expect on its stand at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month and it’s all sorts of steampunk and futuristic weirdness, but more on that in a moment. While the Scion FR-S isn’t flying off dealer lots here in North America, the Japanese seem to like their compact sports coupes. The S-FR, according to Toyota is ” a lightweight, sporty concept offering a fun, responsive driving experience” and slots below the Toyobaru twins and go head-to-head with the Honda S660 kei sports that America won’t get because of course we won’t. According to Toyota, the S-FR Concept will have a front-engine, rear-drive layout, six-speed manual transmission and four-wheel independent suspension with an aim of helping “a whole new generation fall in love with driving.” The automaker also stated the S-FR will seat four — possibly very kei-sized — people. Joining the S-FR will be Toyota’s latest fuel cell concept, the FCV Plus, which Toyota says “will take on a new role as power sources within their communities.” (OK. How about we get past making fuel cell vehicles viable as transportation first, then tackle all that pie in the sky stuff after? Thanks.) However, the FCV Plus does have one major thing going for it. The transparent, wraparound greenhouse is something many of us would love to see as an antidote to ever-growing vehicle beltlines. Last but not least, the Toyota Kikai will be on display with an aim to “emphasize the fundamental appeal of machines” by exposing many of the mechanical moving parts that make a car work, said the automaker. It looks like something straight out of “Borderlands” — and I absolutely love it. Toyota, please be weird more often if this is the product of that weirdness. A central driving position with room for two additional people — one on each side — and analog-style gauges mean you can keep your eyes on the road and the car’s vitals while your two passengers can man the inevitably optional mounted steampunk blunderbusses. The Tokyo Motor Show begins Oct. 28.