The GT86's evil twin gets a Le Mans-inspired hybrid powertrain and a weird gearbox
Toyota will show many concepts at the Tokyo motor show, but we suspect none will be as intriguing as this. What looks like a Toyota GT86 that’s been given a Lamborghini Reventon-style makeover is actually far, far more interesting than that.
The Toyota GR HV Sports concept features a hybrid drivetrain. Rather than lifting one straight out of a nearby Prius, though, this one comes with THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System-Racing) technology that’s inspired by Toyota’s hybrid Le Mans car.
Actual engine and motor details are conspicuous by their absence, but we suspect the endurance racer’s 1,000bhp petrol-electric setup isn’t squeezed under its mini-Batmobile body.
If we were to guess, the GR HV’s size would swallow up the Prius’s 1.8-litre petrol and electric motor combination, but its setup - and ethos - will be different. It’ll be a hybrid that’s more about performance than economy, rather like a scaled-down version of the hybrid hypercar holy trinity. Perhaps.
One quirky feature of its sportier mindset is the operation of its automatic gearbox. Press a button and it locks in manual mode – nothing unusual about that – but its six speeds are then chosen via a manual-style H-pattern gear stick. Weird, but a potential glimpse of a future where everything’s electrified and us pedantic ‘driving enthusiasts’ need pleasing.
The powertrain starts via a flip-top ignition switch on that odd manual lever, while the roof pops out in a homage to targa Toyota sports cars of the past, such as the Supra and mk1 and mk2 MR2. The exterior features lots of aggressive LED lighting – it’s a bit Mirai-ish at the back, but very LMP1 racer up front – while the rear diffuser is apparently just like the Le Mans car’s. Yeah…
But while it looks like a dramatically restyled GT86, the GR HV is actually longer, lower and wider, suggesting it might sit on an entirely different platform. Which, given the intriguing new powertrain it has to contain, seems plausible, even if the interior is lifted straight out of the little boxer coupe.
Naturally, the battery of the hybrid system sits in the middle for best weight distribution, while the engine sits in the front and drives the rear wheels. So still GT86-ish in that regard.
We can’t wait to hear more about the car and its powertrain works. Like what you see in the meantime?
STORY STEPHEN DOBIE