The Toyota GT86 is supposed to be a car for driving purists – one that eschews front wheel drive for the arse-out fun of rear axle propulsion, and forced induction for the responsiveness of a naturally-aspirated engine. But Toyota may be about to rip up its own rulebook in creating a hybrid, petrol-electric version of the GT86.
Speaking about just such a proposition at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Toyota’s Senior Managing Officer, Koei Saga, is quoted as saying: “The development work is quite advanced now, so if the green light is given, we are ready to do it.”
“I think it won’t be very far in the future that the green light will come,” Saga continued.
Toyota has proven expertise with hybrid systems, with the Prius a market leader in its segment. While that car is front wheel drive, Lexus uses the same Hybrid Synergy Drive technology in its rear-wheel drive GS and LS saloons, so it’s entirely plausible it could transplant that setup into a hybrid, rear-drive GT86 with few issues.
Obviously, doing so is likely to change the car’s character somewhat. The high-revving 2.0-litre petrol in the current car has to be worked quite hard in order to extract peak power and torque, but a hybrid setup would likely provide access to more immediate thrust. The agility of the current car might be compromised, too, with the hybrid system likely to add a fair chunk of weight.
Toyota appears to be anything but worried, telling Autocar: “With a good layout design, we think that even if it may be a bit heavier, it can be a fun car to drive.”
Let’s hope so.