Toyota could be working on a plug-in hybrid performance flagship for its Prius line.
Japanese publication Best Car Web reports a GRMN Prius could launch in 2024, featuring a beefed-up hybrid system that could be capable of making 225kW of power.
The GRMN badge is reserved for Toyota’s hottest models and, as such, the rumoured GRMN Prius is set to receive an array of performance upgrades.
The report says the drivetrain will be based on the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Prime model, which is the most powerful Prius spec, however, a bump in power is anticipated.
The Prime is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and an electric motor, good for a combined 164kW.
Rumours suggest the more potent hybrid system for the hotter model could be capable of making around 225kW, bringing it in line with the RAV4 Prime, a North American spec that also makes 225kW.
Apart from increasing power, the report suggests making the powertrain more emotional and responsive has also been a focus for Toyota engineers.
Along with extra power, handling will also reportedly be improved, with some of these details first seen on the GR Prius concept at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race this year.
Chassis stiffening will reportedly be achieved through additional spot-welding as well as increased use of adhesives.
Wider tracks and numerous aero devices were a feature of the GR Prius concept, although it’s unclear whether the production version will benefit from the same treatment.
The report does say, however, that the rumoured GRMN’s suspension and brakes will be revised.
Additionally, the GR Prius concept showcases multiple aesthetic and aerodynamic elements that the rumoured GRMN Prius could draw inspiration from.
The GR Prius concept features a carbon-fibre bonnet, a more prominent front lip, a honeycomb insert for the front air intake, and four low-set multi-headlamps on each side of the air intake for improved night time visibility. The latter is a feature adapted from the WEC challenger.
Aerodynamic parts added to the model include side skirts, canards on the front fenders, and a rear diffuser.
Toyota is known to be working on a manual transmission for its electric cars (EVs), and has previously filed a patent concerning a manual transmission for its hybrid cars as well.
Regarding the manual transmission for EVs, Lexus chief engineer of electrified vehicles Takashi Watanabe told Autocar the gearstick and clutch won’t be directly connected to the motor, but they would simulate shifts by adjusting the torque settings of the electric motor.
The manual for a hybridised drivetrain takes a different approach, and features a system that uses a clutch master cylinder with two slave cylinders – one by the driver and the other by the ECU.
The system allows the driver to override what the ECU wants to do by depressing the clutch pedal and applying more pressure than what the ECU is doing. The patent lists this as a “sport mode”.
On the flip side, the ECU can cut in and de-clutch the engine from the wheels whenever it wants, which is important for hybrid cars that may need to do this to coast.
Neither system is confirmed any Prius variant, but they do give Toyota the option to add a level of engagement and excitement to future hybrid and electric performance cars.
MORE: Everything Toyota Prius