Speaking with Autocar, Toyota drivetrain manager Koei Saga revealed that development of a hybrid FR-S was at an “advanced” stage. However, he said that production hadn’t been approved yet.
Saga didn’t specify what type of hybrid technology is being tested in the FR-S but said engineers had a wide variety of options, including those from Toyota's production hybrid models as well as hybrid race cars like the aforementioned TS030 Hybrid and the Prius GT300 from Japan's Super GT.
What’s also unclear is whether a hybrid FR-S would retain a manual gearbox. Most of Toyota’s hybrids come with automatic transmissions or CVTs, although the Yaris Hybrid-R concept revealed at last week’s Frankfurt Auto Show came with a sequential gearbox.
Saga did reveal, however, that the weight of the hybrid system wouldn’t be an issue as the engineers have already managed to remove around 220 pounds from the curb weight of the FR-S.
Should production be approved, a hybrid system might provide exactly what the FR-S needs most: on-demand torque. If it can be done without adding substantial weight, thereby preserving the car's excellent dynamics, and without driving the price into the realm of more natively powerful sports cars, it might just be the best of all worlds.