DETROIT – What is a suitable, and appropriate, sports car for the 21st Century?

At Toyota Motor Corp., the answer is a swoopy 400-hp hybrid-electric vehicle called the FT-HS Concept.

The auto maker unveils the sports car at a media party Sunday night following the first official press day at the North American International Auto Show here.

Developed over the last year at Toyota’s Calty Design Studio in California, the car targets what the auto maker says is an emerging enthusiast buyer who wants performance but also is very eco-conscious.

The car uses a “new-generation sports hybrid system designed to achieve revolutionary acceleration that only a hybrid can provide,” Kevin Hunter, Calty Design research vice president, says.

Toyota projects a 0-60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration in 4 seconds, which puts it in the realm of a supercar. But Hunter promises it will be “mid-priced” in order to make it a true “attainable exotic.”

The FT-HS is a front-engine, rear-drive, two-plus-two sports car, powered by an “ultra-high performance, ultra-fuel efficient and ultra low-emission 3.5L V-6 HEV powertrain,” Hunter says.

The car features fluid surfaces contrasted with hard edges and aerospace-inspired lighting. The hood incorporates a scalloped channel exposing the engine, and the roof has a scooped out section designed to reduce aerodynamic drag and provide headroom in key areas. It also features a new type of open-top system, with roof storage that allows open-air driving without sacrificing structural rigidity.

“Hybrids are amazingly flexible, and we plan to keep pushing the envelope in terms of efficiency, performance, style and fun,” Jim Lentz, Toyota executive vice president, says.

dwinter@wardsauto.com