Posts Tagged ‘TMG’

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?

Lexus LS TMG Sports 650 Breaks Cover

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

If you stay regularly tuned in to Toyota’s corner of the social-media-sphere, then you may have noticed this morning when the Lexus LS TMG Sports 650 concept car was posted to the Toyota Motorsport GmbH Facebook Page.

Toyota enthusiasts will recall that in November of 2009 TMG officially withdrew from Formula One racing, and have since returned their attention to the world of sports car competition. This focus is exactly what led to the hyper-powerful TS-650 concept, which is apparently going to hit 641 horsepower thanks to a twin-turbocharged 5.0L V8 engine and a high-torque capacity eight-speed transmission.

TMG Sports 650 front

We’ve known unofficially that TMG has been working on a souped up Lexus since pictures of a tech’d out LS lapping Nürburgring in Germany surfaced in September of 2011, but with this Facebook unveiling it looks like the gears are finally turning towards production viability. However, as you might expect, TMG is still keeping us mostly in the dark about the TMG Sports 650. We’ve seen enough to be titillated, but the official debut of the high-performance sedan won’t be for another couple weeks until the 2012 Essen Motor Show on December 9. So, we are left with a fair bit of speculation as to the actual specifications and the potential availability of TMG’s newest innovation.

Let the Wind Lead the Way to Performance

What we do know is that this Lexus LS-based concept is fast.

Really fast.

In fact, at over 600HP and with a transmission to handle the high torque output, you are looking at top speeds near 200 mph. However, there is more than the powertrain to thank for the TS-650’s high-speed capabilities… According to TMG’s Facebook post, “Its aerodynamics were developed in TMG’s wind tunnels and significant development has been dedicated to handling.”

You can see the outcome of TMG’s thorough aerodynamic testing and tweaking even from the exterior of the TS-650’s design. On the front end you can see enlarged air intakes that channel air directly through the heart of the car and out through widened hood vents. One can only speculate as to how these vents technically affect the car’s performance, but they generally serve to limit wind resistance, cool the engine, and increase downforce all at the same time.

Other features you can see include a stylized rear spoiler, quad tailpipes, high performance tires, and extended side skirts to keep the car riding low to the ground. You may also notice that all of the Lexus logos have been replaced with TMG logos. So, while we don’t even know whether the TS-650 will be rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, we do know that this car will drive well, and drive hard.

We’ve been waiting with bated breath to see TMG’s next move ever since the surprisingly powerful hybrid TS303 LMP1. Even though the Lexus LS TMG Sports 650 won’t officially debut until the 2012 Essen Motor Show in Germany, the plethora of pictures made available as of today should be enough to get even the most skeptical Toyota/Lexus follower more than a little bit excited.

With 641HP, it’s safe to say that you’ll be seeing this super-sedan take its place alongside AMG and BMW M cars. But will sheer power be enough to draw buyers away from these more established brands? Goodness knows, Lexus needs some more “oomph” to its brand image.

Additional information: Autoblog