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Report: Toyota Mulling Mid-Engine, Hybrid Sports Coupe To Succeed Supra

Toyota once lacked a true sports coupe from its vast lineup, but this year, it has two: the $25,000 Scion FR-S, and the $375,000 Lexus LFA. Give it a few years and you may seen some middle ground, too: a $60,000 sports coupe that draws its lineage back to the classic Supra.

The Toyota Supra was first introduced into the American market in 1979 (then called the Toyota Celica Supra) and lasted through three subsequent generations before leaving our shores in 1998, four years before production ended altogether in 2002. It's possible, however, that the Supra is most famous for its turn on the big screen in the 2001 film, The Fast and the Furious.

The last of the Supra was no slouch, thanks to Toyota's 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine. Base models had a naturally aspirated version making 220 horsepower, which was sent to the rear wheels through either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Lead foots, however, opted for the twin-turbocharged model, which sent 320 hp through a six-speed manual or four-speed auto.

The Toyota Supra may be a memory at this point, but Motor Trend reports a new successor is on its way. The aborted FT-HS concept from 2008 has reportedly given way to a new project that would bring back the Supra in spirit, but not in name -- and certainly not in its powertrain configuration.

MT claims that the new sports coupe will eschew the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive form that was long a hallmark of the Supra (and, for that matter, the FT-HS concept). Instead, the new car will share quite a bit in common with the wild Gazoo Racing MRS prototype. Like that oddball MR Spyder-based concept, the new sports car will likely be an all-wheel-drive, mid-engine hybrid sports car. A 3.5-liter V-6 would likely be paired with an electric motor to drive the rear wheels, while a pair of in-wheel electric motors would motivate the front. All told, the system could provide somewhere around 400 hp.

All told, it's a hybrid all-wheel-drive setup not unlike the one we've seen on Acura's NSX concept - which, coincidentally, is another reboot of an iconic Japanese sports car. If Motor Trend is right, look for a 2015 launch date and a target price just below the $60,000 mark.

Source: Motor Trend