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Toyota GR HV Sports Concept

  • Thu, 12 Oct 2017 10:59

Meet the Toyota GR HV Sports Concept

Toyota is the largest automaker in the world, even outpacing Volkswagen this year with over 7 million units sold across a plethora of markets. But, despite the huge volume of automobiles Toyota pumps out annually, picking a true-blue sports car from its lineup is a little limited. Very limited, actually, with just a single performance model on offer in the form of the Toyota GT86. Don’t get us wrong – we’re big fans of the little two-door coupe, and we’re quite happy that it exists. That said, we think Toyota has the means to offer us at least a few more options, don’t you? Now, it looks like we might get just that, as Toyota appears to be gearing up for the release of the next-generation Supra. While details on that are rooted in rumor, Toyota could be offering a glimpse at things to come with this new concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. Dubbed the GR HV Sports Concept, it’s a compact two-door with eccentric styling, a hybrid powertrain, and an odd H-pattern automatic gearbox.

Intrigued? So are we. Toyota frames it as “a new way to enjoy cars by integrating the thrill of a sports car with the environmental friendliness of an eco-car.” We see it as a chance for Toyota to instill the brand with a little more adrenaline. Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota GR HV Sports Concept.

Exterior

2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736612

The first thing that’ll strike you about this concept is the way it looks. The peculiar design was meant to mimic the Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid race car that runs in the World Endurance Championship, hence the GR HV (Gazoo Racing Hybrid Vehicle) letter lineup we see in the title. It’s an interesting tie-in, given the TS050 was designed entirely for going fast, rather than looking good. Still, it’s a nice reminder that although Toyota might not offer too many sports cars in its production line, its still got some very stout entries in the world of motorsport.

2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 - image 670823
2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736613
"Toyota’s latest concept car (pictured right) takes cues from the brand’s WEC competitor, the Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid (pictured left)."

The inspiration can be seen most clearly in the concept’s front-end design, where we find a downward sloping beak and rounded point, plus a set of tall LED headlights mounted on either side of the body. The concept’s wheels are made from aluminum and use the same look as the racer, while the concept’s rear diffuser, taillights, and lines also mimic the racer’s tail. Large fender flairs in front add a little extra visual beef.

While the allusions to the Toyota WEC competitor become obvious when seen side-by-side, it’s impossible not to see this concept is really just a re-bodied GT86, with slightly longer, wider, and taller dimensions. But that’s okay – after all, the GT86 is Toyota’s one-and-only sports car, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see it providing the bones for this new design study.

2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736610
"Another feature of note is the concept’s targa top, which the automaker says draws similarities with Sports 800 “Yotahachi,” a fun two-door coupe from the ‘60s, as well as the well-known Toyota Supra."

Another feature of note is the concept’s targa top, which the automaker says draws similarities with Sports 800 “Yotahachi,” a fun two-door coupe from the ‘60s, as well as the well-known Toyota Supra. Obviously, this gets us very excited, as any and all official references Toyota might make to the Supra nameplate are enough to get us slobbering over thoughts of the release of a new-generation model. It’s like the Pavlov’s dog effect for fanboys.

Which begs the question – does the Toyota GR HV Sports Concept preview the styling Toyota has planned for the Supra?

Only time will tell, but for the time being, let’s assume that yes, this concept is what the new Supra is gonna look like as well. What do you think? Does it tickle your fancy? Personally, we’re not the biggest fans – sure it’s striking, but it doesn’t have the lovely curves and attractiveness we were hoping for. Regardless, we’ll take it if it means we can have the next-gen Supra already.

Finally, we find the exterior was covered in matte black paint to embody “power and aggressiveness.”

Interior

2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736617
"While the general look closely resembles the production GT86, there are a few features that make it stand out as unique"

Step into the cabin, and this new concept once again recalls the GT86. The look and layout aren’t all that different, with tight, form-fitting seats, a low-slung seating position, and three-spoke multifunction steering wheel.

2017 Toyota 86 - image 694997
2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736615

Note: Toyota GT86 pictured on the left, Toyota GR HV Sports Concept pictured on the right.

While the general look closely resembles the production GT86, there are a few features that make it stand out as unique. The most obvious of these is a series of buttons laid out horizontally across the dash and surrounded by brush metal-look trim. These provide inputs for selecting the various drive modes for the automatic transmission (Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive), and were designed to mimic the design of a race car.

“But wait,” you might say, “why is there a gear stick with an H pattern in the center tunnel?”

That’s where that red “M” comes in. Apparently, the GR HV Sports Concept allows drivers to row their own in the traditional fashion, despite coming equipped with a slushbox. We’re not entirely sure how that’s supposed to work, but we assume it’s like flappy paddles on the steering wheel, just with more control than a simple upshift/downshift operation.

2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736616
"We assume it’s like flappy paddles on the steering wheel, just with more control than a simple upshift/downshift operation."

What’s more, Toyota put a push-button starter on the gear knob, which makes us think of the missile launcher system on a fighter jet. Is that the best spot for it? Probably not. Is it still pretty damn cool? We think so. More fighter jet references, please.

Finally, there are performance meters with digital readouts in the center console touchscreen, plus a full complement of digital gauges behind the steering wheel as well.

Drivetrain

Note: Toyota TS050 Hybrid drivetrain explained here.

While details on the GR HV Sports Concept’s powertrain are practically non-existent, Toyota did mention it would get a performance-oriented set-up with technology taken from the TS050 (hence the video above). And while we’d love to see a fire-breathing, high-revving, 500-horsepower 2.4-liter V-6 with 8 megajoules of electric assistance, we think something like an all-atmosphere 2.0-liter four-cylinder and single electric motor combo would be much more likely. Something around 250 horsepower would be perfect, actually.

The engine mounts in front and routes output exclusively to the rear wheels via that six-speed automatic/manual transmission already discussed. Meanwhile, the battery was mounted centrally in the body for better weight distribution. Fun noises exit via a single central exhaust pipe.

Again, this gets us thinking about the new Supra. Rumor has it Toyota is bringing hybrid power to the nameplate. And why not – the brand already has loads of experience when it comes to electrification, and the Supra was always a heavier, GT-style car, which means the added weight of a battery pack and electric motor shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

Conclusion

2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept - image 736608

While you’d be right to call the Toyota GR HV Sports Concept, well, odd, we like it all the same. Yeah, the styling is weird, but Toyota’s Le Mans racer provided the inspiration, and that gives it a pass in our book. Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to mount the starter in the gearshift knob, but it’s still a cool detail. And yeah, mixing a stick shift with an automatic transmission doesn’t make sense, but at least Toyota is thinking about ways to keep the driving experience more interesting.

Now, about the Supra…

  • Leave it
    • Row your own on an automatic?
    • Not exactly pretty
    • Basically a re-bodied GT86

References

Toyota GT86

2017 Toyota 86 - image 669805

Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota 86.

2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 - image 670823

Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1.

Cars

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