Screenshot: YouTube

A mysterious Toyota has appeared on display in Naoshima, Japan—one that’s been pretty difficult to track down and seems impervious to both Google and press site searches. It’s the La Coupe, and here’s what we know about it so far.

Some patents were tracked down recently by Carscoops showing a tear-shaped body and a lot of rounded, futuristic lines. It came across as a sports car, and, at that time, very little info was actually publicly available. It just seemed like a hint at a potential car we could expect in the future.

Except the La Coupe actually exists as a real, physical vehicle, and it’s been tooling around Japan as early as October 2018:

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The La Coupe is currently on display in Naoshima and was tracked down by members of the SupraMKV forum.

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It’s a handsome little vehicle. Its standard-looking front end is highlighted by unique headlights and a frankly adorable, inoffensive face. The rear end of the car, interestingly, almost totally mirrors the front, which gives it some odd-looking proportions. It comes across as a nice, sporty city car.

Most other specific details are few and far between, though. The Toyota emblem on the front is accented in blue, an indicator that the La Coupe is a hybrid model. What exactly that means for the powertrain, though, is impossible to know. Those details aren’t currently available.

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After reaching out to Toyota, Carscoops reported the following:

We reached out to Toyota and spoke to Senior Manager Nancy Hubbell about the La Coupe. She said that it’s an internal study from the carmaker’s Japanese division with no plans for getting it on the road. “It was just a concept study and they had to get some patents on it to show it in public,” Hubbell told Carscoops. “It was designed for Japan audiences and there’s no talk of putting it into production.”

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If this is just a design exercise on Toyota’s part, I think they might be onto something. We’ve seen plenty of over-the-top concepts lately—ones replete with tons of futuristic tech that’s currently not really feasible to build. The La Coupe is definitely not one of those cars. Its sleek look actually seems functional where other automakers have been skewing in favor of exaggeration. The La Coupe might not have Toyota Sera-style butterfly doors, an autonomous mode, or a tablet screen for a dashboard—but that doesn’t mean it would look out of place in the near future.

In fact, it looks like it’s eschewing all the bullshit in favor of something more classic. It’s pretty rare these days to see a concept that doesn’t have any touch screens or quirky feature. That could just be because it’s not intended for widespread display, but I’m also inclined to hope this is Toyota’s way of flexing their back-to-basics muscles.

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It reminds me a little of the MK3 MR2 in its silhouette with callbacks to the 2000GT. Enough classic Toyota styling to fit it into the marque’s lineup, but with a twist that could inform the direction of Toyota’s future. It’s not likely that we’ll see this exact model in production—but it’s an experiment whose design elements I’d like to see implemented in the future.