One of the best sports car surprises from this year’s Tokyo Motor Show came not from Mazda, Toyota, or Honda, but Yamaha. The Sports Ride is a car built to drive like a Japanese crotch rocket on four wheels.
Precious little information was given. Most of the attention at the press conference was given to a blue robot that rides a motorcycle (yet another reason to love the Tokyo Motor Show).
With a carbon fiber frame developed by McLaren’s Gordon Murray and a body penned by ex-Toyota designer Akihiro Dezi Nagaya, the Sports Ride is a mid-engined sports car the size of the ND Miata.
Power would likely come from a Yamaha motorcycle engine of some sort, if it is built. True to the Japanese ethos, a massive engine with big power isn’t the point. The difference is made up for in lightness, and the car tips the scales at just 1,653 pounds. It looks like an absolute blast to drive.
Of course, Yamaha is no stranger to building cars. They hand-built the Toyota 2000GT back in 1967 and have engineered many engines for other automakers throughout the years, including the Ford SHO V6 and a slew of twin-cam heads for ToMoCo. In 1992, they even built their own supercar, the OX99-11. Only three were made.
This is one of the best things about the Tokyo Motor Show. You just never know what you’re going to find. Some say Japanese automakers have lost their souls. But the Japanese sports car isn’t dead. There’s still a strong desire from independent shops, old schoolers like Tommykaira and Ken Okyuama, who are in love with the cars that are not crossovers. The Yamaha Sports Ride is very much in this spirit.
This is the beast that slayed me. I really want to see this in production.
I’ve always thought it was odd that Yamaha was about the only motorcycle manufacturer who hasn’t dabbled in production cars. As a staunch Yamaha bike fan, I would love to see this concept go to production; not that I would be able to afford the high-five-figure / low-six-figure asking price (just a guess).
they’ve more than dabbled…they developed automobile engines
Um, I guess my point was “production” cars, like I said; as in, Yamaha-badged cars. I wish that they would have gotten into auto production decades ago like the others did so they would be a household name, Yamaha-car-wise, by now, like Honda and Suzuki are. Yes, they’ve made some fine, fine automotive engines, but they haven’t produced a Yamaha car yet, at least that I know of. If I’m wrong I’m sure I’ll hear about it..
Looks great, move forward. As high end as it appears it must be made afordable to the masses. Keep it nimble and quick.
masses want nothing to do with it jim
OK, your right. I ment the sports car nuts, people who enjoy driving. Not the people who are worried about how their phone interacts with their transportation.
I’m wondering whether the car we are looking at here could end up as a Toyota…the ties are strong between the two companies and the nexus to full production (of cars) is probably too far a gap for the modern day Yamaha – not due to funds or technical capability but because that’s how corporate co’s are driven nowadays (stick to the knitting).
The front end looks similar to the FT1 concept. I would love for this to be the next MR2.
Yep, it uses Toyota design language and like you said the two are long -time bedfellows. Yamaha has long worked as an engineering contractor for Toyota. It’s been a fruitful relationship. Yamaha’s engineering innovation and prowess (a trait it shares with Mazda) with Toyota’s money and corporate acumen to make it actually happen. I’d love to see a W40 MR2!
With the dash/wheel center and the sideview mirrors, it bears strong resemblance to the Pagani Zonda and Huayra. That, to me, is a very good thing. For those commenting that you want it to be affordable; anything in in the mid 5 figures makes it affordable. And when compared to a Pagani, those are used motorcycle prices!
Yep – I’d have that in a heartbeat. Perhaps that is the best way to go, a Toyota/Yamaha co-op; everyone keeps their respective markets and it picks up the Toyota reliability reputation and the yamaha sportbike pedigree. I’d still have an Alfa 4C first, but if the price difference is right….
As much as I liked the S-FR, it pales in comparison to my desire for the Sports Ride. I can’t think of cars other than this one now. Even though the odds of it making production are 0.5 degrees left of nil, I will hope against odds. This with something like a YZF-R1 power plant in the $39-49K range would be epic.
I love it; I would own one in a heartbeat if the price were vaguely sensible.
Not holding my breath for the car to be actually built.
I’d like to see it with one of Toyota’s small 4 cylinders with a Yamaha cylinder head. Trade 5000 rpms from the top end for usable torque, as compared to using an existing Yamaha bike engine. Bike engines just don’t translate that well to something that weighs 4-5x as much. Connected to a sequential shifting transaxle, like a bike. Manually operated clutch. Like a bike. 370Z/S2000 kind of pricepoint. Also I’d like to see that b-pillar made black and flush with the rest of the greenhouse and the scoop thats inside of it moved down to in front of the rear wheels.
If they are considering it, I’d say the carbon fiber is out. Aluminum is more likely, if it’s to be reasonably affordable “to the masses.” (BTW, agreeing with wantyerknobbies and Jim above; “the masses” don’t get it.)
Yamaha,build this car!
great to see Yamaha car. congratulations to Yamaha team. i hope you have some production plans. waiting when you market this new car.