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Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Toyota revisits sports car passion with S-FR coupe

At the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota unveiled a small sports car concept called the S-FR, which suggests the company wants to add some passion to its lineup.

Toyota S-FR

The S-FR demonstrates renewed interest in sports car design from Toyota.

Wayne Cunningham/CNET

TOKYO -- In recent years, Toyota's sports car credentials have gathered dust, but the company seeks to reinvigorate its image, if not its lineup yet, with the S-FR. This new coupe concept unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show is designed for lightweight, nimble handling.

And better yet, the S-FR follows classic sports car design with a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout.

The body looks a bit Porsche-like, sporting a long nose in proportion to the bubble cabin. However, the overall dimensions are very small. The S-FR measures just over 13 feet long and almost four-and-a-half feet high. Fifteen-inch wheels fit its proportions well, but are small compared to many modern cars.

Toyota's press release notes that the car's layout, size and light weight makes for nimble handling. As a concept, however, Toyota does not specify an engine or transmission for the S-FR.

The dashboard has a unique design, with a smartphone holder in the center and a single digital gauge display for the driver. Despite the sports car look, Toyota notes that the S-FR is designed to be practical. To that end, it has four seats, although getting into the rear looks difficult.

The S-FR looks like it would make for a very fun sports car similar to the Mazda MX-5 or Toyota's own Scion FR-S. But its dimensions suggest it would not be capable of holding all the airbags and safety engineering necessary for the US market.

It may not be destined for production, but at least the S-FR shows new passion in Toyota's automotive design.