Toyota Motor Corp. is set to unveil what it believes to be a suitable interpretation of a 21st century sports car, the FT-HS sports concept.

Spawned as a joint undertaking by the auto maker’s California-based Calty research and design center and Advanced Product Strategy Group, the FT-HS embodies the ethos of Toyota’s legendary Supra sports car – with some advanced hybrid-electric vehicle technology thrown in for good measure.

Toyota says the front-engine, rear-drive concept, which will be revealed next week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, will appeal to “emerging buyers who grew up eco-conscious and perceive technology as a necessity, not a luxury.”

Powering the FT-HS is the auto maker’s 3.5L DOHC V-6 – recently named to the 2007 Ward’s 10 Best Engines list – mated to a sport version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system.

With a combined output of about 400 hp, the FT-HS will sprint to 60 mph (97 km/h) in about 4 seconds, Toyota says. Carbon-fiber 21-in. wheels shod with performance tires provide the necessary grip.

In addition to its advanced powertrain, the futuristic FT-HS incorporates the auto maker’s J-Factor and Vibrant Clarity design themes that Toyota says express the brand in much the same way the L-Finesse design language has sculpted modern Lexus vehicles.

J-Factor exhibits Japanese-inspired design and cultural sensibilities, with Vibrant Clarity expressing the concept through freeform geometric shapes, minimalist style and integrated component architecture.

Penned by Calty designer Alex Shen, the FT-HS blends sleek, taut surfaces with an athletic presence, achieving an aggressive, flowing silhouette unlike any current Toyota model.

A scooped-out carbon-fiber roof panel retracts into the rear-seat area, converting the 2-plus-2 grand tourer into a proper open-top 2-seater.

A unique hood with a scalloped center channel provides onlookers with a view of the hybrid powertrain, while light-emitting diode front lighting, an integrated speed-activated spoiler and carbon-fiber rear diffuser highlight other elements of the design.

Inside, an exposed cross-car architecture combined with the liberal use of carbon fiber and titanium give a sleek and high-tech appearance, Toyota says.

Other futuristic touches include advanced electronics integrated into a delta wing-shaped driver’s pod and a telescoping, hub-less steering wheel incorporating steer-by-wire technology and integrated paddle shifters for the transmission.

msutton@wardsauto.com