Toyota will debut a new sports-car concept at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring endurance race in late July. The car is called the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II. The “GRMN” stands for Gazoo Racing Meister of Nürburgring -- Gazoo Racing being a Japanese motorsports group loosely tied to the automaker, and the Meister of the Nürburgring being Toyota’s late test driver, Hiromu Naruse.
Polysyllabic naming aside, the GRMN is an all-wheel-drive, hybrid, mid-engine roadster. Behind the two seats is a 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine rated for 245 hp, whichdrives the rear wheels in tandem with an electric motor. A 295-hp electric motor drives the front wheels, providing all-wheel-drive and hybrid capabilities.
Toyota says its concept will weigh 3300 pounds “or less,” and at 171.3 inches long and 74.4 wide, the GRMN is approximately the same size as a 2012 Ford Focus hatchback. The car is said to offer an “exhilarating driving experience” and serves as the next step in Toyota’s ongoing development of hybrid technology.
Notice the “II” at the end of the car’s full name? That’s because Toyota previously showed off a GRMN concept in January 2010. That car was a crude mock-up, with new bodywork and powertrain components hastily stuffed into the chassis of a last-generation Toyota MR2. It looked more like a cheap kit car, whereas the GRMN II seen today has a shapely, Audi R8 Spyder-like appearance.
The prior concept connected a mid-mounted 3.3-liter V-6 and an electric motor to the rear wheels, with a claimed output of 392 hp. Electric motors likewise powered the front wheels. Toyota said the 3300-pound concept could hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and could travel several miles on electric power alone.
There are no promises as to whether these GRMN concept cars will transform into a production vehicle, but we previously heard rumors that a GRMN-like vehicle was headed to production. If so, it will almost certainly revive the famed letters “MR2” -- those of the small, mid-engine Toyota sports car sold in the U.S. from 1984 through 2005.