In years gone by a trip to the Tokyo show was as much about gawping at Japanese oddities as getting hands-on with the latest production cars bound for Europe. This year, it’s clear manufacturers are moving towards a more global product line-up, which meant there was plenty of metal relevant to UK buyers. Obscure Japanese Kei cars could still be found of course, but we’ve sifted through those to bring you our top five cars from the show floor to watch out for.
I know it’s only an F-Type with a fixed roof, but Jaguar is pitching this car as a different, more driver-focused, proposition to the roadster. For starters there is no V8 S model, Jaguar have skipped straight to the F-Type R – that means the range-topping coupe gets the 542bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 from the XFR-S and XKR-S and cracks the 0-60mph sprint in 4.0 seconds. An inherently stiffer body means it’s not only faster, but sharper to drive, too. And Jaguar doesn’t plan on standing still; we learned an F-Type R-S is in the pipeline with close to 600bhp.
Nissan was busy redefining the concept of a sports car in Tokyo with the ballistic GT-R Nismo and the crowd-sourced, retro-inspired IDx concept. But it’s the all-electric Blade Glider concept that could really change the game. Developed off the back of Nissan’s revolutionary Deltawing and ZEOD Le Mans racers, it throws conventional thinking out the window with its wide rear- and narrow front-track, and a McLaren F1-style staggered three-seater layout. According to Nissan bosses the engineering is complete and it drives like a dream – all they need to do now is build a business case to put it into production.
As the new IS saloon and now the stunning RC Coupe prove, Lexus’ design department is in rude health. Lexus’ trademark ‘spindle’ grille has always been a controversial cue, but it looks right at home on the nose of the low, wide and muscular RC, which gives Lexus a genuine rival to the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5. Whether it can live with those rivals on the road is another question. The IS’s lackluster engine line up left us feeling flat, but the RC has some firepower up its sleeve. As well as V6 petrol and 300h hybrid model an RC-F is under development, expected to pack a 450bhp 5.0-litre V8 and give the new BMW M4 Coupe quite a fright.
Ignore the name, Honda’s new Nissan Juke rival will wear a different badge when it arrives in UK showrooms in 2015, although there’s no word on what it will be just yet. Honda wheeled out a concept called the Urban SUV concept at the Detroit show in January, which previewed the styling, and luckily is remained relatively unmolested. The hidden rear handle is a nice touch, and despite being based on the same platform as the Jazz it’s fairly sizeable in the flesh. In a market where small SUVs are springing up on what seems like a weekly basis, 2015 is a long time to wait for this car, but you can bet your house that customers will snap it up.
You’d be forgiven for missing the Sport Cross Concept, which was quietly launched among a flurry of other Subaru concepts, but the idea behind it is brilliant. Essentially it’s a BRZ Coupe fitted with slightly raised suspension and a shooting brake rear end, and it would be perfect for differentiating the BRZ from its sister car, the Toyota GT-86. Japanese spokesmen on the stand were giving nothing away about its production potential, but its obvious something like this wouldn’t be quick and easy to make. It could be just the injection of excitement that Subaru needs.