Toyota's Gazoo Racing is bringing a concept to the Tokyo motor show. It's a targa-top, hybrid sports car, that puts a new spin on the manual mode for an automatic transmission.
The GR HV Sports looks like a targa-top Toyota 86 with a nose job. And that's not a bad thing. The gaping mouth is framed by sharp headlights that look vaguely like the last-generation Celica. Behind that, the door and rear haunch is directly from the 86, but with that Supra-inspired targa top open. The trunklid looks decidedly 86 too but with a huge, high mount center-exit exhaust, and LFA style taillight surrounds (with a much improved lightning-bolt light).
It uses the Toyota Hybrid System-Racing hybrid inspired by the one from the TS050 hybrid. That's the Le Mans Prototype racer that Toyota sent to the 24 hour race in 2016 and 2017. And while the race car's 2.4L twin-turbo V6 and 8 megajoule hybrid drive system produced 986 hp, don't expect that much from this sports car. Gazoo isn't saying just how much power there will be. Not yet at least.
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The big deal in the cabin of the HV Sports is an all-new play on the manual-mode automatic transmission. Forget paddles on the wheel, and that annoying +/- gate. The HV Sports gives you a full H-pattern to play with. That's right, toggle a switch and you can pick gears just like you would in a real manual transmission car. Now if they'd just add a clutch pedal, and a clutch, and maybe replace the planetary gearset with inline gears...it would be perfect.
All jokes aside, the H-pattern automatic is an interesting touch, and since the automatic transmission is clearly not going to give up ground to the real manual anytime soon, this is as close as you're likely to find. If it can offer much of the involvement and satisfaction of a conventional manual, it sure beats a CVT.
There are no announced production plans for the GR HV Sports, but Toyota has said that Gazoo Racing is getting their own model. And since this looks like it's based on an existing platform, it might just see production.
The GR HV Sports will debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, with runs October 25th to November 5th.