2020 Tokyo Auto Salon Archive

  • TAS 2020: A90 Toyota GR Supra left, right and centre

    If you’ve not been to the Tokyo Auto Salon, you’d be forgiven to assume that Makuhari Messe would be a three-day fest celebrating the legends – think R32-R34 GT-Rs, the A80 Supra, FC-FD RX-7, Evo/Subaru, Silvias and Hachirokus, NSX and “real VTEC” Type Rs, you get the drift – and an assortment of kei cars.

    Last year was our first time there, and we were rather surprised to find that the icons were rather hard to come by. Unlike us, the Japanese respect the legends but live in the present. Which is why almost every booth had a Suzuki Jimny, and the FK8 Honda Civic Type R came in second as the most popular TAS 2019 exhibit. The undisputed car of TAS 2020 is the Toyota GR Supra.

    The A90 was everywhere we looked, acting as a canvas for purveyors of aftermarket performance parts, bodykits, wheels and everything else. It even served as a “project car” for the students of Nihon Automobile College. It sure didn’t seem like the A90 was being treated like a pariah for sharing parts with a BMW roadster and being made in Austria.

    We start with the biggest of them all, HKS. The legendary tuner had three cars in its booth, all GR Supras. The one with the famous HKS Super Oil livery is the drift machine of Nobuteru Taniguchi. This one no longer has the BMW B58 3.0L engine under the hood, but the 2JZ-GTE from the previous Supra. Famous for being tuneable to crazy hp, this 2JZ has over 700 horses.

    To be used by Taniguchi in the D1GP championship and FIA Intercontinental Drift Challenge, this drift car comes with HKS’ own widebody kit, Advan Racing GT wheels, a huge GT wing and a deep dish Nardi Classico steering wheel.

    More interesting are the wingmen. The white A90 in you see below (and in the lead pic) is the HKS GR Supra Aero. As its name suggests, this is a showcase for HKS’ widebody kit for the street. Much like Taniguchi’s drift car without the livery and big wing (neat ducktail instead), you can see the details a lot better in white, contrasted with forged carbon. Those red wheels are 20-inch Advan Racing R6 items.

    The subtle black car is the HKS GR Supra Street, which is a showcase for HKS’ performance parts. As tested by Manabu ‘Max’ Orido, the parts (for the stock BMW engine, not 2JZ) include a full HKS Super Turbo exhaust system, fully adjustable HKS Hipermax suspension, HKS Mastery ECU and a cold air intake with HKS Super Power Flow filter.

    Interestingly, we also spotted a special tool kit for the A90 by Tone, as this Supra, which is of course a sister car of BMW and made in Europe, won’t play well with typical tools designed for Japanese cars.

    Another prominent Supra at TAS was a satin green monster by Tachi Oiwa Motor Sports. Not just a concept, TOM’S Supra is a 99-unit limited edition priced at 14.23 million yen (RM570k).

    The tuner synonymous with Toyota didn’t just do an engine swap, but worked on the BMW six-pot to squeeze out 460 PS/579 Nm, which is an extra 120 PS/79 Nm over stock. They did it by changing the turbocharger and intercooler, ECU tuning and a high-flow exhaust system. To match, TOM’S fitted its Advox fully-adjustable suspension and upgraded the front brakes to Brembo six-pot calipers grabbing 380 mm discs.

    The aggressive body styling is quite unique – clearly fatter than the already muscular stock A90, but smoothly executed. The voluptuous side profile is nice, but the rear will be the most common view for most cars on the road – here, there’s a big park bench wing sitting on top of the original integrated ducktail, plus vertically stacked exhaust tips, two on each side.

    The lower body and big diffuser are all in carbon, accented by a lime green pinstripe. If you’re wondering, no those aren’t typically Japanese wheels but Vossens, which is more BMW than JDM. Easier PCD and offset match, perhaps. We also see TOM’S bucket seats made by Esqueleto.

    Other notable Supras include the “Monster GR Supra” exhibited by Work. This is drift champ Daigo Saito‘s work machine, and it’s famous as the first A90 to have 2JZ power. I prefer Max Orido’s A90 though, done up in the iconic Advan livery just like his old Supra. Is there any car that won’t look good in Advan livery? Next to the Yokohama stand was Masato Kawabata’s Toyo-sponsored drift car, the big bro of the 86 that we got to see at TGR Festival Malaysia.

    While team mate Farid was lusting over TOM’S LE, I was attracted to the one by Varis – all show no go, fits this author. The bodykit specialist was clever in drawing attention with a modded A80 Supra, done up in a “Rothmans-style” livery on the Varis Supreme kit. Next to it was a dark grey A90 with the new widebody Supreme 90 kit. Much aero, very fierce. They also had a non-wide A90 there, but might as well go all the way, right?

    Once the euphoria of the GR Yaris launch subsided, Tokyo Auto Salon 2020 became a Suprafest with some sideshows – we’re not complaining, just lusting.

    GALLERY: HKS GR Supras


    GALLERY: Varis GR Supra, A80 Supra

    GALLERY: Max Orido Advan GR Supra

    GALLERY: Daigo Saito Monster GR Supra

    GALLERY: Various modified Supras

  • TAS 2020: Daihatsu Taft Concept previews kei SUV

    Adding to the unusually high number of new car reveals at the Tokyo Auto Salon was the Daihatsu Taft Concept, which previewed a crossover-style kei car due to be introduced in the middle of the year. The latter is entering a market currently occupied by the Suzuki Hustler and should provide some decent competition.

    The Taft moniker was first used on a 4×4 SUV introduced in 1974, where it stood for Tall & Almighty Four-wheel Touring Vehicle. Since this new one is likely to be offered as a front-wheel drive model (with optional all-wheel drive, as is usual in Japan), the backronym has been changed to Tall & Almighty Fun Tool.

    Despite being a show car, the Taft Concept was essentially a production-friendly version of the WakuWaku concept that was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. It sported a similarly buff front end, featuring octagonal headlights and a beefy bumper, plus boxy black plastic fender flares and an upright glasshouse. This particular unit also came with a grille-like chrome appliqué that gave the car a Jeep-like look.

    Unlike the WakuWaku, which has hidden rear door handles and orange panelling instead of rear side windows, the Taft had regular pull handles. The leading edge of the rear windows was also slanted to add some visual drama, while the tail lights were C-shaped with triple vertical blocks that mirrored the front LED daytime running lights. Acknowledging the tuner-heavy nature of the show, Daihatsu fitted the car with some pretty serious-looking 15-inch Work Crag T-Grabic wheels.

    The cubic aesthetic continued on the inside, where the Taft exhibited a blocky dashboard with vertical orange-trimmed air vents. The centre console was particularly striking, with an orange rectangle surrounding the right air vent (the left vent is horizontal) and gearlever. A touchscreen display panel sat on top of the dash, and there was also a large glass roof and what Daihatsu called a “flat, easy-to-use luggage space.”

    No technical details have been released, but the Taft should use the KF range of 658 cc naturally-aspirated and turbocharged engines to comply with kei car regulations. What do you think of it?

  • TAS 2020: Nissan Skyline 400R Sprint Concept debuts – 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 engine with 405 PS and 475 Nm

    Last year, Nissan introduced the facelifted Skyline in Japan, which included a performance-focused variant called the 400R. At the recent Tokyo Auto Salon, the carmaker unveiled a unique show car based on said model called the Skyline 400R Sprint Concept.

    Mechanically, it is identical to the car it is based on, featuring a VR30DDTT 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 engine that produced 405 PS and 475 Nm of torque, with drive going to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic.

    What makes the 400R Sprint Concept unique are the exterior modifications done to it, which include custom front and rear bumpers that give the car a more aggressive look. These look to serve some aerodynamic purpose, as the front splitter and vents help to channel air down the side skirts to the diffuser and outlets that are part of the rear bumper.

    There are also NACA ducts on the bonnet, which complement the Skyline’s redesigned face, to even more closely mimic the company’s flagship GT-R sports car, albeit with two extra doors. Other sporty add-ons include a double-wing spoiler, a set of 20-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres, and large exhaust finishers.

    To complete the look, the car sports a two-tone paint scheme of white silver with a matte black hood, roof, wheels and trunk. These are joined by green accents along the side profile, grille and tyre sidewalls. On the inside, the driver’s seat has been swapped out for a Recaro bucket seat, which is upholstered to match the rest of the otherwise standard cabin.

  • TAS 2020: Subaru Levorg Prototype STI Sport revealed

    After a brief teaser campaign, Subaru officially unveiled the Levorg Prototype STI Sport at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, and we have live photos of the sporty wagon.

    Visually, the LP STI Sport doesn’t differ that heavily from the “regular” Levorg Prototype that made its debut at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show. Standout cues include the addition of “STI” badges, a front lip spoiler, a pair of LED light strips above the front fog lamps, new-design wheels, STI-branded exhaust finishers and a diffuser-like element for the rear bumper.

    A more important bit of kit isn’t in direct sight, as the LP STI Sport features electronically controlled dampers for the first time in a Subaru model. This is linked to a “Drive Mode Select” system, which alters the characteristics of the car’s power unit, steering, dampers and AWD system.

    Subaru has yet to provide details on the new Levorg’s powertrain, merely stating the wagon will get a new 1.8 litre turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder boxer engine. This is mated to a Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and likely a Lineartronic CVT as well.

    The wagon also gets the company’s next-generation EyeSight system, which features a renewed stereo camera setup with a wider viewing angle. The system is also supported by four radar sensors on the front and rear bumpers, which allows it to have a 360-degree sense around the vehicle, while the pre-collision braking function has also been expanded to cover crossing and turning at an intersection with low visibility.

    Like recent Subaru models (XV, Ascent, Impreza and Forester), the new Levorg rides on the Subaru Global Platform and was first previewed by Viziv Tourer Concept during last year’s Geneva Motor Show. While it may still be labelled a “Prototype,” the Levorg is very much close to being production ready, with a market launch set to take place in Japan in the second half of 2020.

    GALLERY: Subaru Levorg Prototype

  • TAS 2020: Toyota 86 Black Limited Concept and AE86 Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex Black Limited on display

    Aside from the debut of the Toyota GR Yaris at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, the Japanese carmaker also had another model on display called the 86 Black Limited Concept. Where the rally-inspired hot hatch is the spiritual descendant of the Celica GT-Four, the unique 86 looks to another famous model known as the AE86 Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex Black Limited.

    To understand their affiliation, we need to understand what the AE86 Black Limited is all about. Back in the 1980s, the AE86 was an affordable, mass-produced sports car built on the E70 Corolla architecture with a front-engine/rear-drive layout, which many of you will identify as the panda-coloured tofu delivery vehicle in Initial D.

    Production of the model started in 1983, and would come to an end in 1987. To mark the end of production, Toyota decided to built a batch of limited-edition units that it called the AE86 Black Limited. Only 400 examples were made, with all of them in Sprinter Trueno guise that featured pop-up headlamps unlike the Levin version. Additionally, all AE86 Black Limited cars were in GT-Apex specification, benefiting from luxuries such as power windows and air-conditioning as standard.

    There were no mechanical changes to the AE86 Black Limited compared to a regular Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex, with the 4A-GE 1.6 litre Twin Cam 16-valve four-cylinder engine sending 120 PS and 149 Nm of torque to the rear wheels via five-speed manual.

    What made the AE86 Black Limited unique is a variety of aesthetic enhancements starting with the Black Metallic Clearcoat exterior paint finish (colour code 204). This is unique to the model, as all 400 units have the colour code identifier on the VIN plate, so that’s how you spot a replica from the real deal. The body also received plenty of gold-coloured decals, including the words “Trueno” and “Black Limited” on the sides, while “Apex Twin Cam 16” and “Toyota Sprinter Trueno” were found at the rear.

    Even the “Trueno” badge on the front grille was painted gold, as are the 14-inch “snowflake” wheels, the latter’s design also used for other Toyota models at the time like the Chaser and Cresta. Other unique exterior touches include a red reflector trim located above the taillights that has “Black Limited” printed on it.

    Inside, the seats have the word “Apex” embroidered on them with gold stitching, while other areas of the car like the instrument cluster panel, centre stack, gear knob and various controls featured orange print or backlighting.

    Shifting our attention to the modern day 86, which has been around since 2012, it’s likely that Toyota could look to create another batch of limited-edition cars to mark the end of the sports car’s production. Given that the company has announced plans to develop a next-generation 86 together with Subaru (again), the 86 concept might be a preview of a swansong model coming our way.

    The 86 Black Limited Concept looks to be based on the existing GT Limited Black Package variant sold in Japan, but with a few special touches. First up, there’s a black metallic paintjob that isn’t listed in the available body colours on the company’s website, and the 17-inch aluminium multi-spoke wheels are finished in gold rather than black – these cover a set of Brembo brakes.

    The interior is also largely the same, with just “86 Black Limited” stitched on the left side of the Alcantara-wrapped dashboard trim. In Japan, the 86 is powered by a FA20 2.0 litre four-cylinder boxer engine with 207 PS (with a six-speed manual) or 200 PS (with a six-speed automatic) and 205 Nm of torque.

    Toyota 86 Black Limited Concept

    Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex Black Limited

  • TAS 2020: New Honda Jazz gets the Mugen treatment

    One of the biggest debuts last year has got to be the new Honda Jazz, and as is customary, Mugen got first dibs on tuning the B-segment hatchback. Many have lamented the softer, more organic design of the fourth-generation model, but the Saitama outfit’s show car, displayed at the recent Tokyo Auto Salon, adds some aggression back into the mix.

    The company showed two looks for the Jazz using a really cool half-and-half application. The red side, called Dash, is the sportier one and gets a carbon fibre surround for the slim grille, along with a large front spoiler that reaches halfway up the bumper, complete with a gloss black splitter. You’ll also find side skirts, a tea tray-like tailgate spoiler and a sizeable rear diffuser, finished off with a big tailpipe.

    Also from Mugen are the 17-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, door visors and door mirrors and rear tailgate garnish made out of carbon fibre, and while the front fenders appear to sport arrow-shaped vents, they are really just stickers – just like the stripes on the doors and tailgate. Inside, there are Mugen-branded side sill plates, starter button, door trim and camouflage floor mats.

    On the white side, dubbed Skip, the car is fitted with simpler lips on the front and rear bumpers and side sills, though it still shares the wheels and tailgate spoiler with its more exuberant sibling. The grille appliqué is also smaller here, with a side-mounted (rather than centred) Mugen badge. This badge can also be found on the front fenders on both sides.

    Mugen hasn’t detailed any sort of mechanical changes to the Jazz. In Japan, where the car is called the Fit, it will be motivated by a new dual-motor Intelligent Multi Mode Drive (i-MMD) hybrid powertrain – a smaller version of the system in the Accord Hybrid – to replace the outgoing Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive (i-DCD). Both the car and the Mugen components shown here will go on sale next month.

    GALLERY: Honda Jazz Mugen Dash

    GALLERY: Honda Jazz Mugen Skip

    GALLERY: 2020 Honda Jazz

  • TAS 2020: Facelifted Honda S660 sports car debuts

    Honda has unveiled the S660 facelift at the ongoing Tokyo Auto Salon, and as midlife updates go, this one is pretty subtle. The pint-sized two-seater sports car was first introduced in March 2015 with a blacked-out windshield surround, but the facelift model gets a body-coloured finish.

    No changes to the dual projector headlights, though the front grille is new (black finish) and the lower bumper features LED fog lamps that are arranged vertically. The turn indicators which were previously positioned on the fenders have been integrated into the wing mirrors, and the S660 rides on an all-new 15-inch aluminium alloy design shod with 165/55 Yokohama tyres.

    Other exterior revisions include a slight colour change to the LED combination tail lights, although the design and graphics remain the same as before. The rear panel with which the Honda badge sits is also now see-through, and two brand new colours – Active Green Pearl and Alabaster Silver Metallic – paint join the line-up for a total of seven exterior finishes.

    On the inside, it’s largely the same as before, but look closer and you’ll find that the steering wheel and shift knob now get Alcantara wrap. A freestanding infotainment display remains optional, and it can be had with Honda’s GPS navigation.

    As before, there is also the sportier S660 Modulo X, which gets a two-tone Bordeaux red and black interior, as well as a red top. Notable exterior differences include a more aggressive front bumper with horizontal LED fog lamps, dark aluminium twin four-spoke alloys, and wing mirrors finished in Night Hawk Black Pearl. The leather seats also get a new design.

    Other than that, the S660 is pretty much the same as before. It’s powered by a 660 cc turbocharged DOHC three-cylinder engine, making 64 hp and 104 Nm of torque (figures that meet Kei-car regulations). The engine is paired with a six-speed manual or a CVT transmission with shift paddles, and both ‘boxes will send the mini sports car to a top speed of 140 km/h.

    In case you didn’t know, the S660 is a mid-engined, rear-wheel drive roadster, and you’ll be hard pressed to find anything of its kind elsewhere. It weighs just 860 kg, and can only be had with the sole S07A turbocharged three-potter engine.

    For safety, things are carried over from before, meaning it gets four airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist, Hill Start Assist, and Emergency Stop Signal as standard, while the City-Brake Active System is available as an option. The S660 also gets Agile Handing Assist electronic control system, which uses brake torque to stabilise the vehicle mid-corner.

    In Japan, pricing for the S660 starts from 2,031,700 yen (RM75k; 10% consumption tax included) for the entry-level model, while the Modulo X goes for a whopping 3,042,600 yen (RM113k). However, the Modulo X is only available in four exterior colours, those being French Blue Pearl, Alabaster Silver Metallic, Premium Star White Pearl, and Carnival Yellow II.

  • TAS 2020: Suzuki Swift Sport Katana Edition revealed

    The Suzuki Swift Sport Katana Edition recently made its debut at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, and we’re bringing you live photos of the modified hot hatch that was inspired by the returning and iconic motorcycle nameplate.

    Unlike the similarly-named Swift Sport Katana that was sold in limited numbers in the Netherlands, the TAS show car features a more comprehensive list of modifications. However, there’s no mention if the Katana Edition will ever enter production, so we can only assume that this is a one-off concept built specially for the event.

    The Katana Edition features a widebody kit that includes a front bumper spoiler, side skirts, a rear diffuser and flared wheel arches, the last of which house 18-inch wheels with red accents, 235/40 series Yokohama Advan Neova AD08R tyres and beefier brakes with red calipers.

    These red accents are part of a tri-colour theme, with most of the body being finished in silver, while other areas like the roof, tailgate, side mirror caps and lower portion of the doors are painted black. There’s also a good helping of stylish graphics applied in various areas, along with a few Katana badges to match. As for the interior, we find “hot titanium” trim pieces in an otherwise stock cabin.

    It isn’t known if there are any changes under the hood of the Katana Edition; the standard model uses a K14C 1.4 litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 140 PS and 230 Nm. The mill drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual, as seen here, or a CVT.

  • TAS 2020: Daihatsu Rocky Sporty Style bodykit – can Perodua GearUp do better than this for the D55L?

    The recently-launched JDM Daihatsu Rocky, which along with the Toyota Raize will be sister cars to the upcoming Perodua D55L SUV, has three exterior styling packages for customers to pick at Japanese showrooms. The styles are Elegance, Powerful and Sporty – we’re focusing on the latter here.

    The Sporty Style for the Rocky is essentially a Perodua GearUp type of package combining a bodykit, exterior decals and some interior trim accents. The Sporty five-piece bodykit consists of a prominent front chin spoiler, side skirts, rear lip, and a raised rear spoiler.

    On the standard Rocky, the lower ring of the car is in SUV-style black plastic, but the Sporty’s add-on bits are in body colour. The package costs 200,000 yen (RM7,448). Speaking of body colour, what you’re seeing here is the new Compagno Red, which is described as a saturated colour that glows crimson with light. It’s one of three colours that can be had with a two-tone black roof effect.

    The Tokyo Auto Salon showcar includes all available accessories, and we can see gloss black garnish on the front and rear fog lamp surrounds, red pinstripe accents grille and tailgate trim, a carbon-style fuel cap sticker and 16-inch six twin-spoke alloys in black. As for decals, we see fake “gills” on the fenders and twin black stripes on the hood and tailgate.

    Inside, one can add on leather seats with red borders and stitching, as well as “red carbon” trim on the door handle surrounds, area surrounding the power window controls and gear lever bezel. It’s all a little over the top, but that’s the trend.

    The Daihatsu Rocky is powered by a 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbo engine with 98 PS and 140 Nm. Paired to a CVT, it’s also optionally available in Japan with all-wheel drive. WLTP fuel efficiency figures are 18.6 km/l and 17.4 km/l for the AWD. Under the skin, which is very compact at just below four metres long, is the new DNGA platform.

    The Perodua version of the Rocky, codenamed D55L, should surface sometime later this year. I’m putting my money on Perodua, which does the sporty look better than Daihatsu due to ample training (Malaysians aren’t very subtle in taste), doing an even better looking base face and GearUp kit than the Rocky’s Sporty style.

    By the way, it has been a long time since we’re getting a P2 model that’s also on sale in Japan, so parts and tuning possibilities should be wider than usual. What do you think of this compact SUV and its Sporty kit?

    GALLERY: Daihatsu Rocky Sporty Style

    GALLERY: Daihatsu Rocky

  • TAS 2020: Honda Civic Cyber Night Japan Cruiser – Modulo reimagines the EK9 Civic Type R for 2020

    We showed you the beautiful Honda S2000 20th Anniversary Prototype from the Honda Access (Modulo) 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon booth earlier, and here’s the other half of the pie called nostalgia. This is an EK9 Honda Civic Type R, but unlike the S2K, it’s no restomod.

    Instead, this concept car – officially called the Civic Cyber Night Japan Cruiser 2020 – is a 1997 hot hatchback reimagined for 2020. No details, so all the below are our observations. Familiar EK hatch shape aside, the overall feel here is rather “cyber” all right, perhaps due to the colour scheme and LED lighting.

    While still unmistakably EK, the face of the CNJ actually sports a new bumper with reshaped grille and lower vents – for the latter, the side ones are sharper and bolder than the original Type R’s, and there’s some gloss black trim for contrast. Most of the organic-shaped headlamps have been shaded away by body colour, but there’s an LED outline.

    At the side, two strips of gloss black run the length of the wheelbase, and slim/sharp wing mirrors have replaced the original items. Those 17-inch wheels are taken from the current Honda Insight – here, the blade-style rims are painted all black save for “STI pink” Civic logos.

    The rear end sees the most change. Like the headlamps, the tail lamps have been blanked out, save for a red LED outline. The EK9 had its number plate recess on the tailgate, but this has been moved to the bumper. Instead, a black strip runs through the full width of the rear, cutting into the lights even. This bar has an illuminated Civic logo. The exhaust tips have been rerouted to the far edges of the bumper.

    Funnily, the Civic logo on the hatch is different from the one on the wheels and headlamps, which are funky and “cyber”, perhaps. Inside, the 90s-style dashboard of the EK has been made modern by touch panel AC controls and an ana-digi instrument cluster taken from the S660. Three pedals, a gear stick and classic Recaros are welcome throwbacks.

    The EK9 was the first Civic to get the Type R badge in 1997. The Japan-only model’s B16B 1.6 litre VTEC engine made 185 PS and 160 Nm. The stripped and strengthened hatch had red Recaros and a three-spoke Momo steering wheel in its spartan cabin. It was first and last Civic Type R hatchback to be made in Japan – EP3 onwards, all came from the UK.


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Last Updated 06 May 2021