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The 5 craziest concepts from the Tokyo Motor Show

Gorge yourself silly on steam-punk city cars, monolithic Mercedes and wheelie cool motorbikes

Tokyo is a city that isn’t afraid to embrace crazy: toilets that blow-dry posteriors, vending machines that serve bananas and trains that actually run on time. Utter lunacy, right?

So, it’s only fitting that the world’s most mind-bending concept vehicles typically get their first public outing in the city where robots replace barmen and cat cafes are commonplace.

This year’s carnival of crazy didn’t disappoint. We saw the typically straight-laced Mercedes-Benz showcasing a lounge on wheels that learns the tastes and behaviour of its occupants as it drives, a three-wheeled Yamaha motorcycle and a Toyota that has seemingly been fashioned from scrap metal, and that was just the start.

Below are some of this year’s highlights – but, be warned, they’re nuttier than squirrel droppings and definitely not for sale on your local forecourt.

Nissan IDS

Nissan IDS

No, this isn’t Iain Duncan Smith’s signature model but Nissan’s vision of an all-electric, fully autonomous future. The Japanese marque believes that even when future drivers hand over responsibility to the car’s built-in computer, the vehicle should imitate the driver’s style. So, if the driver likes to take corners like Lewis Hamilton during qualifying, the computer will replicate this.

Of course, it can prove a relaxing cruiser, too, as the steering wheel recedes into the centre of the instrument panel and a large flat screen comes out when PilotedDrive is selected, allowing occupants to enjoy the advanced, gesture-controlled infotainment system.

Exterior design has been crafted to maximise aerodynamic performance, while the carbon fibre shell reduces weight and therefore load on the high-capacity 60kWh batteries and electric motors. Nissan claims that one day, its electric vehicles will equal or surpass the convenience of petrol powered counterparts. Nice.

Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo: Connected Lounge

Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo: Connected Lounge

Mercedes’ monolithic mouthful has been designed specifically with the inhabitants of Japan’s mega-city in mind, packing plenty of interior space into a shell that’s not much bigger than your average saloon.

It follows on from the recent F 015 autonomous concept that was shown at this year’s CES but builds on the notion of a car interior becoming a lounge-like affair as we hand over driving responsibilities to the machines.

The usual rows of seating have been ditched in favour of a cool, wraparound sofa, which allows those travelling inside to mess about with the holographic entertainment system that emanates from the sleek wooden floor.

Passengers can also face each other for a good old-fashioned natter or interact with the wall-mounted touch-screen that connects those inside with the outsideworld via web services.

Mercedes claims the vehicle is powered by a combination of compact and high-voltage battery packs, as well as hydrogen, which results in a combined claimed range of 980km or around 610 miles.

Yamaha MWT-9

Yamaha MWT-9

The idea behind this Akira-inspired concept is simple: two wheels at the front are clearly better than one. In fact, the marque has dubbed its latest creation the "Cornering Master" thanks to its additional rim.

Underneath the angular bodywork lies a pretty standard triple-cylinder 847cc engine that’s typically found in the road-going MT-09 street fighter-style bike you can buy from any good bike dealership.

Yamaha claims its "Leaning Multi-Wheel" concept proposes a "new type of category in the realm of sport riding", which we think means that riders can basically attack corners at speed and enjoy getting their knee down without worrying about slamming into the nearest lamppost.

There’s no word on a production version, but, you have to admit, it’s the closest thing to a commuter’s Batbike that we’re likely to get and for that reason, it needs to be made.

Toyota Kikai

Toyota Kikai

It’s difficult to decide whether Toyota is trying to make some kind of pertinent statement with this concept, or whether it simply wanted to build something that looks like a Disney Pixar creation on acid.

Think of the Kikai as the anti-car: it is the antithesis of Mercedes’ Vision Tokyo, as it shuns high-tech showmanship for something altogether more basic. Toyota has taken the internal organs of a car and displayed them on the outside for the world to see.

To get all deep and reflective on you, it could be Toyota’s way of reminding us that vehicles still need unattractive oily bits to function properly. Forget your sterile, lounge-like environments, the Kikai kicks it on the road and serves as a functional tool to ferry people from A to B.

Touch screens have been replaced with analogue dials and binnacles, while funky buttons have been swapped for old-school switches and toggles. Kikai means "machine" in Japanese and this concept embodies the truest sense of the word.

Or it’s complete madness; we’re still not sure.

Mazda RX-Vision

Mazda RX-Vision

Woah there! We think it’s time to ease of the insanity slightly, hence why we’re pointing you in the direction of this, the RX-Vision concept. There is definitely a whiff of crazy about Mazda’s gorgeous RX-Vision, but, considering the marque’s recent form for producing concept-a-like sports cars (ahem, MX-5), don’t be surprised if this ends up on a forecourt.

It has been a while since Mazda has dabbled with rotary technology in its powerplants, due to the fact that the unconventional set-up proved to be extremely inefficient in production vehicles. Both the RX-7 and RX-8 featured the Wankel engine (stop tittering at the back) and although performance was scintillating, the fuel bills weren’t.

However, this concept hints that the Japanese marque has improved its technology, which generates power through the rotational motion of triangular rotors rather than conventional pistons, so it is now easy on the wallet and entertaining.

Mazda is being all mysterious about production prospects and details are scarce, but the news should be enough to have sports car fans salivating.

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