Posts Tagged ‘hybrid-r’

Could TMG Be Toyota’s Future Performance Brand?

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

TMG logo

Performance cars have become quite popular lately, and as a result (or perhaps because of), more and more automakers are showing an increased interest in motor sports and track racing. Nissan NISMO is probably the best example right now, but that’s because Carlos Ghosn has a penchant for staying ahead of the curve.

According to a very interesting interview between AutoExpress and Toyota Europe Vice President Karl Schlicht, they are “currently discussing store lines for Toyota models”. In other words, Toyota wants their own performance marque.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R is “Just a Concept”

Toyota is certainly no stranger to motorsport performance. Even without their decades of experience from eons past (back before hybrids stole their focus), in the past few years we’ve seen the limited edition Lexus LFA supercar, the Toyota GT86/Scion FR-S, the Lexus LS Sports 650 Concept, and of course the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept.

Schlicht made it clear throughout the interview that they want to develop a lot more than just concepts and limited edition models in the future, although the Yaris Hybrid-R specifically may not ever see production. Nonetheless, he rightly claims that their customers have “an appetite for Toyota to do credible performance cars”. While the Yaris Hybrid-R likely won’t see production, the Lexus LS Sports 650 almost certainly will.

Why TMG?

Schlicht was very careful not to make any promises, especially regarding the Hybrid-R or its powertrain. However, it should be noted that throughout the Frankfurt Motor Show, Toyota was very careful to emphasize that their showcase concept was built using a powertrain configuration inherited from TMG’s TS030 Hybrid Le Mans racecar. So, this is clearly a powertrain that they want to put to use… Perhaps in the revival of their beloved Toyota Supra?

Incidentally, Toyota’s German performance arm, TMG, is also behind the development of the Lexus LS Sports 650. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

It should be noted that Toyota technically already has a performance sub-brand in the Australia-based Toyota Racing Division (TRD). However, the TRD marque hasn’t been able to make waves in international markets. Plus, it’s pretty safe to say that Germany trumps Australia for most premium drivers.

What it All Means…

In the past year, we’ve had confirmation of a 2015 – 2016 hybrid supercar from all three major Japanese automakers (Toyota, Nissan, Honda). But, Toyota doesn’t want to make only one supercar — they’re ready to join the likes of Nissan NISMO and Mercedes-Benz AMG with their own performance oriented sub-brand, and it’s almost guaranteed to be TMG. Whatever the brand ends up being, it will be invigorating to see Toyota put their massive resources into the unbridled development of Japanese supercars and high-performance models. Hopefully we’ll learn more in the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show.

Until then, here’s a question for you… Would you rather see TMG develop track-tuned versions of Toyota and Lexus models already in production, or start from the ground up with completely new offerings? If you’d rather they tune up current models, then which ones?


What Toyota and Lexus Brought to the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Honestly, we weren’t expecting any surprises from Toyota or Lexus at this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show.  Both Japanese automakers had already teased just about everything there was to tease about their new concepts – the Lexus LF-NX Concept and the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept. But, we were wrong.

Whether you’ve been keeping up with Frankfurt previews or this is your first time seeing any of these new concepts, keep reading to get the down-low on Toyota’s, and the world’s, first ever hybrid-only motor show stand. And yes, they did that deliberately because hybrids are “no longer niche,” but mainstream. Apparently, Didier Leroy of Toyota Europe predicts that 27% of cars sold in their market during 2013 will be hybrids.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept

First up, we have what is likely one of the most hyped vehicles prior to the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.  Which is odd, because it was our understanding that we weren’t going to see the full Yaris Hybrid-R Concept until the Tokyo Motor Show in November. But, always full of surprises, Toyota made their big debut ahead of time. So, the car you see above is the real-life Toyota Hybrid-R Concept.

The timing is the only surprising thing about the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept, though. Not because the car is boring, but because Toyota already spoiled everything about it…

We already knew that the Yaris-based concept would feature a total output of 420 horsepower.  We knew that the first 300 hp would come from a turbocharged, 1.6L four-cylinder gas engine up front, and that the remaining 120 hp would come from independently controlled 60 hp motors on each rear wheel. Then, another 60 hp motor sits in the middle of the Hybrid-R to collect and send power along to the same supercapacitor that’s found in the Toyota’s TS030 Endurance Championship racecar. We even knew that the super-tuned Yaris would sit on a quartet of 18-inch Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires.

So, not much new here, but you’ll still enjoy watching Toyota’s official promo video below:

Lexus LF-NX Concept

Next up we have the Lexus LF-NX Concept, made to compete with other compact crossover all-stars like the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mercedes GLA. As with the Yaris Hybrid-R, we already knew a lot of what there is to know about the LF-NX. But, here’s a recap with a couple new tidbits for your enjoyment:

We’ve already talked a lot about the design, so you can make your own opinions about that. Keep in mind, though, that the production model will be MUCH more toned down than the show car above. So, if it’s a little extreme for you as is, that’s alright, it’s purposeful. Instead of focusing on that, let’s go over some newly revealed/rumored technical details.

First up, the Lexus LF-NX will feature a “new variant of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system,” just like we’ve seen in the IS300h, but “tuned for SUV performance.” This fits perfectly with what we already knew, since Toyota trademarked the NX300h moniker at the beginning of 2013. It also makes sense with Lexus’ debut of the new GS 300h alongside the LF-NX in Frankfurt, too (we’re not going to discuss it, though, since it’s an old car with a new powertrain).

The LF-NX compact crossover will definitely be manufactured with FWD, but it may also be available with AWD in some countries. It also seems likely that the LF-NX will be manufactured on the same platform as the new RAV4. If you’d like to learn more about the Lexus LF-NX Concept, check out the premium crossover’s official promo video below:

Confirmation of Toyota GT86 Hybrid

This is where things are getting interesting… Apparently, the folks over at Autocar.co.uk got an exclusive interview with Koei Saga, one of the head honchos of Toyota’s drivetrain engineering division. According to him, a new Toyota GT86 Hybrid may be coming soon. Maybe even closer than you think; he says, “The development work is quite advanced now, so if the green light is given, we are ready to do it.”

Putting the Pieces Together

What’s really interesting about this news of a GT86 Hybrid is that it will be made with a compilation of drivetrain technologies that Toyota has already been used in… Get this… Production passenger cars and pure race-oriented hybrid systems. In other words, it’s very likely that the GT86 will feature powertrain technology nearly identical to that found in the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept! And now everything fits together, right?

All in all, an excellent hybrid-only showing from Toyota and Lexus at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. It was nice to see the Yaris come early (which means we’ll probably get some new car-candy for Tokyo), the LF-NX lived up to expectations, and the possibility of a new hybrid GT86 is absolutely titillating.

Stay tuned here for more Frankfurt coverage tomorrow, and until then, thanks for reading!


Here’s the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept Coming to Frankfurt

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Well, the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show is right around the corner, and it’s usually about this time when Toyota makes their attempt at nabbing an ‘I always have to have the last word’ final impression on the automotive blogosphere. So, it was no surprise when yesterday, just five days before doors open in Frankfurt, Toyota unveiled the full specs for their Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept.

As you continue reading, we’re going to discuss and recap what we know about the Hybrid-R Concept, as well as attempt to accurately set our expectations for the in-the-metal reveal next week. But first, here is one of the new pictures Toyota has released to go with their preview:

Toyota Yaris Hybrid R

What We Know About the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept

As far as we can tell, the primary goal of this most recent media kit really and truly was just to remind us what we’ve been waiting for. Aside from the new “live action” photographs (which we’ll go over in a moment), the press release itself is mostly focused on confirming the Global Racing Engine details we’d heard a week or two ago.

For those needing a reminder, we can expect a 300 hp 1.6L four-cylinder petrol engine with direct-injection and a turbocharger powering the front, while the two rear wheels each get a 60 hp electric motor, plus an additional non-drive 60hp motor in the center to help charge the super-dense capacitor.

The math whizzes will no doubt calculate that the Yaris Hybrid-R is capable of 420 hp when it’s in Track mode, which is incredible for a hybrid, and much more so for a hybrid hatchback. But, this new concept isn’t just a study in sheer power — Toyota wants it to showcase finesse and advanced technology, too. That’s why you’ll repeatedly hear how the Hybrid-R features a super capacitor, “just like in the TS030 HYBRID!”

So what’s Toyota trying to say with this Hybrid-R? Well, perhaps they’re sick of the taunts of the likes of Jeremy Clarkson saying that hybrids are boring and pointless. Perhaps they are thinking that to break into new areas of the automotive market, they are going to have to offer more than just economy. After all, a lot of Europe prefers diesels. But what if the instant on-tap torque of electric motors could be used to give the hybrid an extra performance kick? That’s exactly what Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren are doing with their hyper-exotica — the 918, LaFerrari and P1 respectively. If they can do it, why not Toyota, the grandfather of the hybrid world?

The Sportiest Hatchback You Ever Did See

In addition to reconfirming mechanical details, this newest preview of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept also fills in the blanks on the aesthetic front, both from without and within.

As far as exterior design, we have a high-contrast silver-white paired with charcoal black and electric blue. We see a much more expressive front clip with a larger grill, redesigned headlights, and two large air intakes built into the fender. Along the side we see more prominent wheel wells with large 18-inch Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires for maximum versatility. From the rear. We see a large diffuser, a unique, customized spoiler, and the new Yaris Hybrid LED taillights.

Inside the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept, the carpet matches the drapes… We have black leather accented by blue Alcantara for a “racing inspired feel”. The shift lever is apparently kept deliberately close to the driver for easy gear-changes, and the steering wheel literally features a boost button – it’s how you tell the Hybrid-R that you want the capacitor to release it’s energy in either Road Mode or Track Mode.

It’s probably safe to say that this is the last full-fledged preview we’ll have before Frankfurt next week. Stay tuned tomorrow for a rundown of all the Japanese cars to look out for at the European motor show, and then next week we’ll dive into the on-site reveals.

Sources: Autoblog, Autocar


Toyota Reveals Hot Yaris Hybrid-R Concept With Mechanical Details

Posted by Stephen On Friday, August 30th, 2013

You’ll probably recall a couple of weeks ago when we first discussed Toyota’s Frankfurt-bound concept, the Hybrid-R. At the time, the only info we had to go on was a simple Hybrid-R logo, which, unsurprisingly, didn’t give us much fodder for speculation. Nonetheless, our theory was that the Hybrid-R Concept could possibly be the prequel to a Toyota Supra revival.

Unfortunately, that particular theory no longer seems such a likely explanation given the “Yaris” (Vitz in Japan) in the new concept’s name. However, as you continue reading, I think you’ll remain as enthused, if not more so, than if our theory had proven true. So, without further ado, here is the official Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept:

Yaris Hybrid R

What’s that, you say? Why would Toyota think that anyone in their right mind would want to drive a Yaris supercar?

Well, here’s the kicker: the once-drab three-door subcompact now features a total power output of 420 bhp! Even without exterior modifications (of which there are plenty), any car powered by a “high-density super capacitor” is enough to arouse even the most latent of automotive curiosities. And c’mon, 420 bhp!

Technically, the powertrain breakdown is as follows:

Up front, the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept features a turbocharged gas-powered 1.6 liter Global Race Engine with 300 bhp (FIA compliant, of course). In the rear, each back wheel is independently powered by a 60 bhp electric motor. Then just like in Toyota’s 2013 Le Mans race car, the TS030 Hybrid LMP1, you’ve got the 60-hp non-driving-motor generator and the super capacitor setup in the middle to rapidly harness power during deceleration, and then quickly deliver that power to the rear motors during bursts of acceleration.

Electric motors deliver instant torque at any RPM. Did I hear you say “yummy”?

Yaris Hybrid R powertrain

What’s really cool is that Toyota tailored the Hybrid-R Concept with both street driving and track driving in mind. So, depending on the mode you’re in, the capacitor will deliver a 10-second boost of approximately 80 bhp, or a 5-second boost of 120 bhp. And of course, the rear wheels receive different amounts of torque depending on road conditions and curve radius. With the high-power engine and intelligent driving capabilities, Toyota says that the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept could be made suitable for a number of different applications.

With the 16th anniversary of the Toyota Prius in mind, perhaps that broad spectrum of application is exactly what the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept is trying to prove. Toyota did say that the concept was, “created as a showcase for possible future hybrid development ideas,” and that they, “will have introduced a further 16 new or revised hybrid models” by the end of 2015. In fact, it seems reasonably likely that there will never actually be a Yaris Hybrid-R, and that the concept is purely for technology showcasing purposes. Either way, we’re excited and you should be too. We’ll get to see everything come September 10 at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.

And hey, maybe the Hybrid-R previews a new Toyota Supra after all? Anything’s possible! With a drivetrain like that on board, I don’t think there was be any complaining out there in Internetland.

Source: Autoblog & press release