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Toyota GRMN MRS : Concept Cars

Meister of Nurburgring, for the last time before his sudden demise, left his finger mark on the design of this car that Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled in Tokyo Motor Show, 2011. The car we are talking about is GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept. And those who have yet not recognized the Meister, he is no one but legendary test driver of Toyota Hiromu Naruse. GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept is also the second incarnation of MRS/MR2 layout vehicles, discontinued in 2007. With midship engine, all-wheel drive and distinctly different power-train, the car is a new chapter in MS/MR2 series. Naruse-san himself test-drove the car and tuned its design. GRMN is nothing but Gazoo Racing car tuned by Meister of Nurburgring.

The Powertrain
The new car is continuation of MRS/MR2 engine layout. However, Toyota tried to make it a completely new car in every other sense to give more stability, road grip and power. Let’s have a look under the hood:

Engine: The concept model sports V6 engine with 3.5 liter capacity instead of ZZ series aluminum engines, common with defunct MR-2 cars. New engine yields 247 horsepower. Besides the gas-fed (petrol) engine, the concept vehicle sports an electric motor which drives the front wheels. Vehicle got hybrid tag because of this electric motor. It draws power from battery.

Transmission: GRMN Sports Hybrid is an all wheel drive. Similar to the MR2 tradition, gas-fed engine drive the rear drive axel with separate transmission system. For front wheel, it has front axel mounted electric motor.

HPs: V6 generates 247 horsepower or 183 kW of energy. This might not sound very big for a V6. However, along with the electric motor, total power generation reaches 299 horsepower or 220 kW.

Torque: The concept vehicle produce enough torque so that this 1500 kg or 3,300 pound car can reach 60 mph at mid 5 second range.

The exterior & interior
Toyota designed the concept car with more carbon fiber to make it lighter yet strong and this is the reason it weighs only 1500 kg or 3,300 lb. Besides the weight, vital statistics of the car goes like:

Length – 4.35 m
Width – 1.89 m
Height – 1.2 m
Wheelbase – 2.57 m

The car sports 225/40R19 tires in the front and 255/35R19 tires in the rear wheels.

What’s new?
1. All-wheel drive with a midship engine is common. But Toyota used an electric motor on front axel, which is a new concept. The motor drives the front wheels in tandem with the midship engine. The concept lowers energy loss in differential common in transmission of mid-engine AWD.

2. V6 engine has replaced ZZ engines, common in MR-2 series. ZZ engines were low capacity. V6 produce more horsepower. Besides the added power, this engine gives more stability too.

3. All-wheel drive design more traction and comfort while cornering. This is more helpful in surfaces with less traction.

What’s refreshing?
1. Major refreshment is of course the engine. Unlike ZZ engine, V6 yield not only more power but also takes less space compared to inline engines. Considering the space shortage in 2-seater sports coupe and power thirst, Toyota rightly chose the V6.

However, the gas-fed V6 in the hybrid concept does not give more than 247 horsepower to the wheels. This is not much impressive since V6 are capable of generating more. Along with the electric motor, the car produces maximum of 300 horsepower.

2. MR-2 series was mid-engine rear wheel drive. Toyota designed the new car as all-wheel drive with completely new power-transmission. Different torque at front and rear wheel makes the car more stable at higher speed. Benefit is more visible while cornering on loose traction surfaces like snow, sand etc.

3. The second incarnation of MR-2 series has completely redesigned body work. Curvy aerodynamic lines and air-vents for engine cooling are the most visually attractive features of the concept vehicle.

Price & availability
Toyota has announced nothing yet on pricing and date of commercial launch. However, considering the innovative design it seems they are serious. The concept vehicle ran on 24 Hours Nurburgring track. This implies Toyota is serious about the commercial viability and success of the concept. Meanwhile, we can remain only hopeful of laying our hands on it.

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Sources : Toyota GRMN MRS Photo | Toyota GRMN MRS Article

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