Car manufacturers the world over are trying to appeal to younger buyers, and Scion’s Fuse Sports Coupe concept is the most daring yet.
Unveiled at the New York International Autocar show last month, Scion, the first-time-buyers division of Toyota, caught everyone’s attention.
Low, aggressive and sinister, the Fuse’s exterior has taken hues from Japan’s Super GT touring cars, its wraparound windscreen has been inspired by a race helmet and the car features butterfly doors.
Headlamps are slim, high-mounted and deep-set, and a massive rectangular air intake hints at potential for a large intercooler.
Wide-body rear flares encase deep-set vertical taillights. The dual exhaust tips don’t only serve for gas emission but as fog and reverse lamps. Wheels are 20-inch custom-machined with LED's on the end of each spoke, which illuminate as turn indicators.
Two horizontal glass panels running the length of the roof slide open in both directions offering all occupants access to a personal sunroof. The rear window tapers down to a speed-activated spoiler.
Headlights and fog lamps can be programmed to illuminate in various colors and videos or images can be downloaded and viewed on a concealed LCD screen behind the front badge.
The inside is just as crazy. A media station runs the length of the dash and two 10.5-inch monitors enable occupants to watch DVDs or play video games. The Fuse cabin seats four comfortably, however when the car is parked, additional room is available with a tailgate/hatch that folds into a lounge. The extra seating is paired with rear foldout speakers and detachable inside drink cooler.
The front passenger seat folds flat and serves as a table, or footrest. Occupants can utilize video screens or take advantage of wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) connectivity and instant message their friends. In driving mode, the video screens turn off and a multi-informational display is used for driver information.
A drive-by-wire steering interface combines influences from race cars and video game controllers in one innovative driver module.
Additional features include subtle accent lighting on the seats, doors and overhead lining. Deeply contoured seats are upholstered with soft-to-the-touch "Mythos" fabric that wraps around passengers for maximum comfort. Audio, video and HVAC systems are easily controlled by a "vehicle system/communication interface" touch control board that is similar in appearance to a telephone keypad.
The Fuse is a conception of Calty Design Research’s, Toyota's North American design studio, designers Alex Shen and Bob Mochizuki.
"The Fuse is a styling exercise that presents a discussion starting point for Scion owners and other Gen Y consumers with an eye towards a versatile sports coupe," says Scion vice president, Mark Templin. "Like previous Scion concepts, the Fuse delivers a unique statement about what the Scion brand is all about and where it is headed."
Its goal was to push the limits of a coupe concept by combining entertainment, digital technology and versatility into one sinister looking package. Most importantly, its styling makes a visual statement about its intention to expand the performance envelope among affordable, entry-level sport coupes.
"The idea of the all-new Fuse Sports Coupe is a reflection of the boundless limits and creative envelope that embodies all the vital personalization components of a Scion product," adds Templin.
Disappointingly, the Fuse isn’t all super-tech, it’s powered by a 2.4-litre Camry engine.