Toyota has confirmed its commitment to producing more ‘fun-to-drive’ cars with the launched its newest sports car, the Toyota 86 or "hachi roku" in its home market, Japan.
Global Toyota president Akio Toyoda said cars must have an emotional presence that inspires drivers.
"Personally, I love the smell of petrol and the sound of an engine, so I hope that this type of vehicle never disappears," Toyoda said.
"I hope that motor vehicles will continue to provide dreams and inspiration to people for all eras.
"I believe that if it is not fun, it is not a car."
Toyoda said that, no matter how advanced cars become, it was important to retain the anticipation of buying a new car and the excitement of gripping the steering wheel and driving.
"Today it is said that young people have little interest in cars as there are much more interesting things.
"As an automobile maker, I find this quite frustrating.
"It is for this reason that we are committed to making cars that will evoke this feeling of ‘fun to drive, again’ in as many people as possible.
"This is Toyota’s declaration."
The new Toyota 86 or "hachi roku"
The 86 is a rear-wheel drive car which features intuitive handling that reportedly embodies the essence of driving enjoyment.
It said to features the world’s first horizontally opposed D-4S engine, combining "boxer" engine technology with Toyota’s cutting-edge D-4S direct injection technology.
The engine is installed front mid-ship to create an ultra-low centre of gravity and low inertia. It is the world’s only current horizontally opposed engine and rear-wheel drive package.
The Toyota 86 carries on the spirit of the AE86 Corolla, according to the leading automotive manufacturer.
The lightweight and compact rear-wheel drive platform was designed to achieve superior handling and create the world’s smallest mass-production four-passenger sports car (by volume).
The D-4S, with separate twin injectors for both direct injection and port injection, boasts a high compression ratio of 12.5:1. This reportedly provides high output and high torque over a wide range of engine speeds and contributes to improved environmental performance.
The vehicle engine’s redline is 7500rpm with maximum output of 147kW.
A choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a special sports-driving six-speed automatic transmission is available for market.
The circular steering wheel has a diameter of 365mm, the smallest in a Toyota-brand vehicle.
According to Toyota president Akio Toyoda, the new rear-wheel drive sports car is all about "waku doki" – a car that creates excitement and gets your heart racing.
Image: Toyota 86 chief engineer Tetsuya Tada at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.