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Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Demonstrates Unexpected Performance Potential

By: Jeff Youngs, 9/6/2013
The Toyota Yaris might be an entry-level subcompact in production format, but when transformed into the mighty Yaris Hybrid-R Concept that is debuting at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, it exhibits significant performance potential.

Based on the Yaris Hybrid that is sold overseas, the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept is equipped with a direct-injection, turbocharged, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine developed by Toyota Motorsport GmbH, and delivering 300 horsepower to the car's front wheels. In the back, each rear wheel is equipped with a 60-horsepower electric motor. The result is a combined 420 horsepower and all-wheel drive with torque vectoring at the rear axle.

A third electric motor is located in front, sandwiched between the engine and the 6-speed sequential automated manual transmission. When the car is accelerating, this front electric motor is charged with sending power to the rear electric motors when horsepower and torque overwhelm the front wheels, making it a traction control system of sorts. When the car is decelerating, the front electric motor behaves as a generator to provide energy to a super capacitor housed underneath the car's rear seat. The rear electric motors also serve as generators under deceleration, feeding energy to the super capacitor.

The Yaris Hybrid-R Concept offers Boost, Road, and Track driving modes. In Road mode, the super capacitor can deliver 40 horsepower to the rear wheels for up to 10 seconds, according to Toyota. In Track mode there's enough energy for a 5-second blast of the full 120 horsepower. The car can also operate at low speeds as an electric vehicle.

Given the amount of power the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept can deliver to the wheels, additional upgrades are necessary, including 18-inch Toyota Racing Development wheels wrapped in 225/40 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires, grooved and perforated brake discs, 6-piston front brake calipers, and 4-piston rear brake calipers. Inside, Recaro seats have black leather bolsters and blue Alcantara inserts, with matching Alcantara used on the door panels and dashboard. The material also covers the sport steering wheel.

Styling changes designed to reflect the concept car's performance potential include new headlights with blue LED running lights, a wider grille, large air intakes, flared fenders, roof-mounted spoiler, rear diffuser panel, and an exhaust outlet with air extractors on either side. Special white paint with black-and-blue detailing completes the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept's unique appearance.

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