With the recent launches of the LFA supercar, Scion FR-S and a much sportier Lexus GS sedan, it’s clear the desire to build emotionally-styled, fun-to-drive cars has been rekindled at Toyota.
However, Toyota’s performance car renaissance is far from complete.
To fill the huge void between the $25k FR-S and $375k LFA, Toyota will need several more sports cars if it has any hope of revitalizing its performance past.
Cars like the MR2, Celica and Supra all hold a fond place in the memory of most sports car fans, and it appears that at least one of these models could be returning.
That model is the Supra, which Motor Trend
reports could be returning as a mid-engine sports car with a hybrid drivetrain and all-wheel drive.
This ties in with previous comments from Tetsuya Tada
, the chief engineer of the Scion FR-S, that suggested Toyota was considering a Supra “follower” rather than a direct successor. Instead of simply building a new grand tourer with a powerful turbo engine mounted up front and drive sent to the rear wheels, the new car could call on Toyota’s latest technological knowhow, including hybrid drive systems and sophisticated electric motor all-wheel drive setups.
A major clue is Toyota’s GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept
, which is now in its second generation and features a mid-engine platform and all-wheel drive system facilitated by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine driving the rear wheels and an electric motor powering the front rubber. The concept has been extensively tested at Fuji Speedway in Japan and even competed in the grueling Nürburgring 24 Hours race last year.
While it’s far too early to speculate about performance numbers or pricing, or even if it will be called a Supra, the car would likely be positioned
against the Nissan GT-R. Though interestingly, its proposed technology also makes it comparable with Acura’s next-generation NSX
and a possible mid-engine hybrid sports car from Infiniti based on the 2012 Emerg-E concept