The Tokyo Motor Show often serves as an eclectic grab bag of wildly quirky and generally impractical concepts to gorgeously exotic head-turners that would get any enthusiast's heart beating a little faster.

Without question, the star of this year's expo was Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s all-new GT-R sports car, which goes on sale next month in Japan and had been known previously as the Skyline GT-R in the home market.

Nissan has said the price would be around 7.8 million yen ($68,010), a significant jump from 2002, when the last version launched at 6.1 million yen ($53,190).

The GT-R arrives in the U.S., Europe and other markets in 2008, powered by a VR-series twin-turbocharged DOHC 3.8L V-6 that produces 480 hp at 6,800 rpm and 430 lb.-ft. (582 Nm) of torque at 3,200-5,200 rpm.

At the other end of the spectrum, Nissan unveiled the Round Box concept, aimed at young men who want to have fun.

A convertible with a detachable top, the model seats four. Powered by a 1.6L gasoline 4-cyl. mated to a continuously variable transmission, the Round Box is designed to offer a relatively large cabin.

Along a similar vein, Nissan's NV200 is a near-production minivan designed for a wide range of business applications including use as a mobile research lab, mini sandwich kitchen or wood-working shop.

The vehicle, powered by a 1.5L turbodiesel, features a customized “cartridge” built into its rear storage compartment that can be extended when parked. The result is space for a small lab or office equipped with a computer terminal or workbench.

Meanwhile, Mazda Motor Corp. debuted the fourth in a series of design-oriented concept cars. The Taiki follows the Nagare (Los Angeles 2006), Ryuga (Detroit 2007) and Hakaze (Geneva 2007) concepts, building on their windswept theme of “flow.”

The stretched, rear-wheel-drive, front-engine sports coupe concept features an all-glass canopy and an instrument panel inspired by Japanese climbing carp streamers, called koinobori, with a wind-flow feel present on interior parts, Mazda says.

Powering the Taiki is Mazda's next-generation Renesis rotary engine, with a longer stroke and increased displacement (800cc × 2), as well as a direct-injection system and aluminum side housing to reduce engine weight and size.

Toyota Motor Corp. blanketed the Tokyo show floor with six concepts and the latest iteration of its “personal mobility” series.

The long list includes the 925-lb. (420-kg) 1/X hybrid, for which Toyota claims a doubling of fuel economy from its production Prius model. Unlike the gasoline-electric Prius, the 1X is a plug-in hybrid that runs on biofuel when not in its electric mode.

Its flexible-fuel engine has a displacement of just 0.5L. To keep weight down, the auto maker employed carbon fiber-reinforced plastics for the body frame.

Toyota's RiN concept represents “serene and healthy living.” Its most significant feature is its eco-friendly heat-blocking glass.

The Hi-CT, powered by a 1.5L gasoline engine and electric motor, also is a futuristic plug-in hybrid — this one aimed at younger drivers.

Characterized as a new-generation minivan, the FT-MV could be ready for production as early as next year. The model, which seats six, is built on an Estima platform and powered by a V-6 engine.

The Crown Hybrid Concept is an attempt to target a slightly younger market for Toyota's top-of-the-line sedan. No launch date is offered, but the luxury model looks to be far along the development curve and could go on sale as early as late 2008 or 2009.

It employs the same hybrid system adopted by the Lexus GS 450h

Finally, Toyota showed off the i-REAL, the fourth in its personal mobility vehicle series, following the PM, i-unit and i-swing.

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. emphasized advanced powertrains as it unwrapped three new concepts centered on alternative power and improving fuel economy.

Representing Honda's vision of the future, the mini-Puyo could be characterized as a crystal ball on wheels.

Nine feet (2.7 m) long, the tiny bubble car can seat four. Its soft silicon body is designed to help prevent serious pedestrian injury in the event of an accident. Its see-through roof and all-around window panels offer a 360-degree panoramic view to all occupants.

The Puyo gets a smaller version of Honda's ‘V-flow’ fuel cell that powers the FCX Concept, plus independent motors at all four wheels. Honda has no plans to produce the Puyo.

However, Honda will produce the CR-Z, a concept hybrid sports car that looks fairly far along the development curve.

More on Tokyo Auto Show at:
http://subscribers.wardsauto.com/reports/2007/tokyo