Concept Cars

Toyota GR HV concept has an automatic that can shift like a manual

It's basically a GT86 with a hybrid drivetrain and wacky new fasciae.

Toyota
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Owners have been able to find automatic transmission with quasi-manual shifting for some time, but Toyota's Tokyo Motor Show concept takes that idea to a whole 'nother level.

The GR HV Sports concept might look familiar, and that's because it's based on the GT86 (known in the US as the 86) sports coupe. However, the front and rear ends are a fair bit wilder than the standard GT86, with a front end built to resemble Toyota's WEC hybrid racecar, and with a rear end that looks vaguely Prius-ish.

The face is like some weird mish-mash of a GT86, a Ferrari 458 and a fish.

Toyota

There's also an electrically operated targa top, similar to the one in the Mazda MX-5 RF. Let's hope that actually makes it to production, whether it's on the GT86 or its successor.

Under the sheet metal is a hybrid drivetrain modeled after the aforementioned WEC racecar, the TS050 Hybrid. The battery is mounted in the center of the car to keep the weight balance as even as possible.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the car, though, is its transmission. While it does work like a traditional automatic (because it is a traditional automatic), a button press engages a very interesting manual mode. Instead of just nudging the stick up or down to change gears, there's a proper six-speed manual "H" gated pattern. There's no clutch to operate or anything -- drivers can just row through the automatic's gears like they would a manual.

It's sort of the opposite of the clutchless sequential manual that debuted on the 2002 MR2 coupe. On that car, the driver only initiated gear changes using a lever or paddles, with the computer taking care of actual clutch actuation. So, that car had a manual that operated more like an automatic, while the GR HV Sports concept has an automatic that operates more like a manual.

The 2017 Tokyo Motor Show starts in the last week of October, so keep your eyes peeled for this, and all sorts of other interesting concepts.