Toyota Will Debut Hot Yaris-Type Hatch Concept Called the Hybrid-R at Frankfurt, But Where is the Supra?
When it was revealed that Toyota was set to pull the wraps off a new 400hp sports car concept, we all thought one thing: could this finally be the oft-rumored Supra successor? With the glowing success of the Scion FR-S/Toyota GT86, it seemed eventual that Akio Toyoda (who has repeatedly expressed his desire for his company to increase the number of sporty models in Toyota’s roster) would lead his company to develop a new high powered sports coupe. In fact, as recently as four days ago, AutoGuide was reporting that Toyoda wishes for at least two RWD sports cars to bookend the FR-S, with a Supra on the larger end and a possible MR2/Celica sequel on the bottom side. After all, the success of the FR-S has shown that fans of inexpensive, thrilling coupes have been lying dormant, and none more so than diehard Toyota fanatics with fond memories of models long since shelved. Toyota has released teasers for a new, high performance concept car to be debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show, so it was naturally assumed that the long-awaited Supra would be previewed in some way. A new article from Autocar has brightened up the shadowy image to reveal…a hot hatch in the form of the entry-level Yaris. What the hell, Toyota?
The iron has never been hotter for the Japanese manufacturer to release a new sports car. Ever since the FR-S went on sale, reviewers have all echoed the same sentiment: the car is a blast to drive, but the chassis can definitely handle more power. The rumor mill hasn’t stopped turning for years: will the mega FR-S ship with a turbocharger, or hybrid, or combination, or will Toyota play it safe and lop the top off to compete with the Mazda MX-5? The fervor has reached Acura NSX levels of intensity, and every new tidbit of info leaking from the automotive giant is heavily scrutinized for clues pointing to a more raucous beast.
All signs pointed to a new Supra when word got out that a concept car boasting right around 400hp from a hybrid powertrain would bow in Frankfurt next month, but that seems to be quashed by the Yaris-based concept. The carcould be a red herring meant to divert attention, culminating in a surprise Supra announcement in Germany, but that seems too playful for the typically conservative Toyota.
The Supra and MR2/Celica projects may be in their infancy stages and not anywhere close to ready in time for Frankfurt. In that case, it seems reasonable that Toyota would unveil something, anything, to keep some sort of enthusiast momentum sustained. The engine is said to be low on displacement, with the electric motor making the majority of the horsepower claimed.
Expect more information as it develops regarding the Hybrid-R as it leaks or until Frankfurt. We’ll be watching closely, especially if the concept shown here is indeed merely a distraction.
Photo courtesy of Autoblog