Toyota planning lightweight sports car

Caterham 7 620R

Toyota is planning to unveil a shock new sports car model at the Tokyo motor show in October, Auto Express has reported.

While expected to be shown off as concept model, a Toyota source told the automotive weekly that if reception is positive, the carmaker would consider putting it into production.

Recently, Toyota has taken a more driver-focused approach, with its lightweight performance coupe, the GT86, being very well received. The new model is set to take this a step further, with the concept expected to be an open-wheel design in the style of the Caterham 7 (pictured above) aimed at attracting younger buyers to the brand.

"Such cars must grab kids' imaginations and hopefully give them an interest in owning and driving cars in the future," the Toyota source told Auto Express.

Unlike Caterham models, however, the new Toyota concept is expected to have a staggered, three-abreast seating arrangement, with the driver occupying the central position – just like a McLaren F1.

The concept will be powered by a front-mounted 1.5-litre petrol hybrid unit, which will power the rear wheels through a CVT automatic gearbox. The economy-biased drivetrain may seem at odds with the car's performance remit, though with a projected kerb weight of just 700kg, it should provide plenty of poke, while returning impressive fuel economy.

Should it get the green light for production, Toyota could have its new sports model in showrooms within two years, with an estimated starting price of around £18,000.