Organized, as always, during the fall season, the new event opened its virtual doors to the industry professionals as October 25 and 26 are counted as press days. An invitation-only day follows them, and then access to the general public is granted at Tokyo Big Sight in Tokyo, Japan, from October 28 to November 5. And people are going to need those days because the event is jam-packed with everything – from quirky mobility concepts to jaw-dropping prototypes.
If you want some highlights, the Toyota Land Hopper that everyone and their mother thought would be a mini Land Cruiser designed for the compact class to take on the likes of Ford's Bronco Sport was actually a three-wheeled mobility concept. As for the superstars, there are many of them, but I personally fell in love with Mazda's Iconic SP, a rotary-powered range-extended EV that most likely previews the next-gen MX-5 Miata.
However, the quirkiness award goes, for sure, to Subaru. The Japanese automaker bridged the gap between land and air yet again – possibly as an homage to the aviation-influenced XT range (1985-1991) and its eccentric successor, the Subaru Alcyone SVX. The latter was a distinctively styled FWD or AWD coupe that featured a characteristic 'window-within-a-window' side-glass configuration directly inspired by the world of aviation.
Now, at JMS, Subaru kicked off its exhibition with the world premiere of the two main concepts: Subaru Air Mobility and Subaru Sport Mobility. Just like every other manufacturer, Subaru also had a main theme for the event - "Enjoyment and Peace of Mind" for today and the future. The Subaru Air Mobility Concept is not exactly a flying car as we might have imagined a few years ago. Instead, we are dealing with a six-rotor aircraft that tries to express the company's vision of a future with "more freedom in mobility."
Alas, more importantly, it was joined by a swoopy, futuristic coupe that tries to help us experience "the enjoyment that Subaru offers in the age of electrification, embodying the pleasure of going anywhere, anytime, and driving at will in everyday to extraordinary environments." Of course, we are dealing with a battery-powered fully electric prototype – although no technical specifications about power, performance, or potential range were offered.
Suppose you think the exterior is kind of weird. In that case, it's not precisely a coupe, nor is it typical of a crossover configuration, and instead, it's ruggedly sporty, sort of speak – wait until you hear about the interior. In Subaru's words, "the basic framework is based on the concept of a driver at the center, controlling all four wheels at will." As such, the potential owner would sit right in the middle and get a low seating position to better feel for the car around him – although the concept is still "designed to ensure excellent visibility and perceptibility for the driver, providing a package that allows for enjoyable driving with peace of mind."