The Toyota Yaris isn't a very remarkable car, but Toyota sought to change that with the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept, unveiled earlier this week at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.
It's the Yaris everyone knows and feels neutral towards, infused with technology from Toyota's TS030 Hybrid Le Mans prototype.
The Yaris Hybrid-R features an engine built by TMG, the German race car builder that runs Toyota's Le Mans program. Called the Global Race Engine, it makes an astounding 300 horsepower from just 1.6 liters.
As in the stock Yaris, the gasoline engine powers the front wheels. Unlike the Yaris Hybrid (not sold in the U.S.), it's teamed with no fewer than three electric motors.
Two 60-hp motors power the rear wheels, giving the car all-wheel drive traction.
A third 60-hp motor is sandwiched between the engine and a six-speed sequential transmission. It works as a generator for the two rear motors by converting excess torque into electricity.
During acceleration, the motor sends power directly to the batteries; under deceleration it sends the power to a supercapacitor, instead of the nickel-metal-hydride battery pack that Toyota uses almost all of its hybrid models.
The third motor can also act as a traction control system, keeping the front wheels from spinning and vectoring torque between the rear wheels. It's probably a good feature on a short-wheelbase car with a total system output of 414 hp.
The Yaris Hybrid-R has some very impressive technology beneath its subcompact hatchback skin, but none of it will make it to showrooms any time soon.
While such a car would make sense given Akio Toyoda's mandate for "more exciting cars"--and the powertrain would be a pretty good fit for Toyota's rumored Supra-like sports car--the Hybrid-R is just a concept for now.
Enjoy the video, just one piece of our 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show coverage.