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Toyota GT86 will get a more powerful version. Just like someone on every web
forum out there says should happen. But it’s not what you’re thinking. The car’s
chief engineer Tetsuya Tada (pictured right) told us: “I think 300bhp with
a turbo and 200g/km of CO2 would be tasteless in this day and age. And a turbo
would mean the loss of the GT86’s uniqueness.” That’s pretty definite

looking for a surprise,” Tada says. “Something unique. For example, a
hybrid motor.” Yes, he knows your face will fall. But he’s not talking
about the usual Toyota hybrid system (THS), found on the Prius and other hatchbacks.
“The THS is good in town, but not for sporty driving or high-speed
motorways.” Quite.

we’re looking at a next-generation hybrid. More like the TS030 Le Mans
Prototype. We’re looking into that possibility.”

is good. Tetsuya always said the GT86 wouldn’t be a proper sports car without a
high-revving engine. That’s why he developed a special (and expensive) version
of Toyota’s direct-injection system that could handle high rpm. You can imagine
his distaste for the low-revving Atkinson cycle engines of the THS hybrids.
Never mind their CVTs and their heavy NiMH batteries.

TS030 racer has a KERS system, recovering energy during braking and storing it
in supercapacitors to give an extra kick of torque down the next straight. So
it still has a high-revving petrol engine and a six-speed gearbox and
rear-wheel drive. And it beat the Audi R18 e-Tron at the end of this season.

we nudge Tada further. Has he got a GT86 prototype running using KERS hybrid?

has the prototype got supercapacitors, or batteries? Finally, as his PR minder
shows signs of actual medical seizure, he stops answering questions directly.
“Toyota wants to make things accessible. The capacitor is appropriate
technology, but it’s not as lightweight as you might think, and it’s
expensive.” So that’s a no… or a maybe? “Well it might get better.
The rate of improvement in the electronics industry is very fast compared with
the car industry.”

clear things are moving fast. Back in the summer Tada told the
hybrid wasn’t ready for sports-car primetime. But now, with his distaste for
big heavy engines or laggy low-rev turbos, the idea of the instant electric
response of KERS is more appealing to him.

equally clear that this development is not exactly just around the corner. But
Tada-san spent five whole years working on the GT86 to get it to his
satisfaction. If we have to wait for his next chapter, well it’s probably going
to be worth it.

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