Toyota is unveiling their GR HV SPORTS concept car at Tokyo Motor Show 2017 which will be held at the Tokyo Big Sight venue for more than a week from October 25 until November 5. A compact, two-door sports car with an eco-friendly hybrid core and a unique H-pattern automatic transmission selector, the concept car references Toyota Gazoo-Racing’s TS050 hybrid racing car, hence the GR HV initials which stand for “Gazoo-Racing Hybrid-Vehicle.”
Its referencing the TS050 purpose-built new-generation racer is a bit of a stretch, actually, if we go just by looks. Because, in contrast, the GR HV is more similar to their GT86, although with a different, character-defining Targa roof which itself harks back to Toyota’s classic sporty convertibles, the Supra and the Sport 800 (also know as the Yotahachi).
These said, the design at least speaks of consistency since the possible adoption of the GR HV SPORTS hybrid could double Toyota’s sports car lineup, expanding on the footprint of the GT86 just like that. Nevertheless, the GR HR SPORT’s affinity with the TS050 is not merely skin deep with the concept car’s powertrain being built on the Toyota Hybrid System for Racing, or THS-R–the carmaker’s next generation system developed for their hybrid racer and tweaked with race performance conditions testing on the track.
The design, the very language of this on the GR HV SPORTS, is both keen and playful. The GR HV features energy efficient LED headlights, lightening aluminum wheels and a rear diffuser similar to those on the tail-end of the TS050 hybrid racer. The drive selector is uniquely represented as discrete buttons on the center console–punch the round “P” button for park, “R” for reverse, “N” for neutral, “D” for drive, and so on.
The starter’s on/off switch is playfully placed under the red flip-up dome that’s otherwise kept in place as the stick-shift’s racy top. The matte black body color manages to convey aggressiveness without diminishing the body’s overall sleekness. The THS-R system comes with an automatic transmission that you’d expect on a highly parallel hybrid, but which can also be toggled into a clutchless but otherwise manual stick-shifting gearbox. The battery seems to have been kept down to a hybrid’s weight and size (not bloated up into a plug-in hybrid’s energy buffer) and is mounted low and amidships to keep the front-engine rear-wheel-driven sporter exquisitely balanced.
Toyota seems locked onto their promise when they assert that the GR HV SPORTS concept presents a new model, a different paradigm for spirited and enjoyable driving on an otherwise sensible, eco-friendly vehicle.