Toyota has gone without a mid-engine sports car in its lineup for some time now, but it certainly looks as though the automaker is getting serious once again about developing a new car along the lines of the departed MR2 roadster. The latest evidence has just been released by Toyota in the form of its Gazoo Racing tuned GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II, which is making its debut at this weekend’s the 39th annual Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race.
Expanding upon the first GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept from the January 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon that had been built on a widened MR2 platform to accommodate a hybrid powertrain, the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II takes the exercise a step further with “advanced styling” more in line with Toyota’s current design language instead of the cobbled-together look of the previous concept that borrowed heavily from the outgoing MR2.
Like its predecessor, the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II has all-wheel drive. Sending power to the rear wheels exclusively is a 245-horsepower version of Toyota’s ubiquitous 3.5-liter V6 while the front wheels benefit from an electric motor that can put down as much as 295 horsepower. Routing that power through a continuously variable transmission, the combined powerplants should have no problem motivating the car’s estimated 3300-pound mass.
Toyota has been mum on performance stats, but the first-generation concept with 392 net horsepower hustled to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, and this car shouldn’t be too far from that mark.
The GRMN Concept II stands as a tribute to Toyota’s future with hybrid technology in a performance vehicle and its past, as “MN” stands for “Meister of the Nürburgring,” a tribute to late Toyota test driver Hiromu Naruse who headed the Gazoo Racing team and passed away June 23, 2010 in an accident near the famed German circuit.