Toyota reveals mid-engined, AWD hybrid concept at Nurburgring

Toyota pulls the wraps off of its latest sports car concept. Mid-engine? Check. All-wheel drive? Check. Hybrid? What?!

Toyota's latest sports car concept has and exotic powertrain to match its wild styling.
Toyota's latest sports car concept has an exotic power train to match its wild styling. Toyota/Gazoo

What's interesting about the release accompanying the announcement of Toyota's latest hybrid concept is that there's absolutely no mention of the terms efficient, mpg, or eco. No, when Toyota talks about the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II, it uses words like maneuverability, stability, and enjoyment. Just what's gotten into boring old Toyota these days?

Set to be revealed to the public at this weekend's Nurburgring 24-hour endurance race, in Nurburg, Germany, the Toyota's concept is a sporty convertible that's powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain. GRMN stands for "Gazoo Racing tuned by Meister of Nurburgring," which alludes to the involvement of Gazoo Racing, a Japanese tuning shop that's worked closely with Toyota in the past on concepts and race vehicles.

A gasoline engine sends power to the rear axle, while an electric motor powers the front end.
A gasoline engine sends power to the rear axle, while an electric motor powers the front end. Toyota/Gazoo

Total system output is rated at just shy of 300 horsepower.
Total system output is rated at just shy of 300 horsepower. Toyota/Gazoo

The GRMN Concept II features a mid-engined 3.5-liter V-6 engine that outputs 245 horsepower to the rear axle on its own. The gasoline engine is joined by an electric motor at the front axle that boosts total system output to 295 horsepower and adds the additional maneuverability and stability that we mentioned earlier by adding all-wheel drive without throwing off the optimal weight balance of the amidships engine configuration. Speaking of weight, Toyota hopes to keep the GRMN under 3,300 pounds, which is hardly bantamweight, but still pretty good for a convertible that's carrying two engines and a battery pack.

With such an exotic power-train configuration (we can count the mid-engined vehicles sold today on one hand with fingers to spare) and even more esoteric styling, you can all but forget about seeing anything like this on dealer lots in time for the next Toyotathon. Then again, we've been surprised before.

 

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