And no, it's not the wonderful 5.0-liter V8.
We've been in North Carolina this week driving Toyota's entire range of hybrid vehicles and the hydrogen fuel cell Mirai, a future model of which the carmaker previewed much to our surprise.
The current Mirai is not what we'd call an attractive car. It mostly just reminds us of a Prius. So when Toyota revealed the all-new 2021 Mirai, our jaws pretty much punched a hole in the floor. Mirai means "future" in Japanese and if this is the future of Toyota design, count us in.
The main reason why Toyota was able to ditch the uninspiring looks of the current Mirai for the stunning lines you see here is a switch from a front-wheel-drive platform to a rear-wheel-drive one.
Opting for a RWD platform allowed the designers to stretch the dimensions of the car, creating a more handsome vehicle that looks more like a Lexus LS 500 than a Prius. And it isn't just styling the new Mirai shares in common with the LS 500. In fact, the car shares a very important component with the LC 500 sports car as well.
Although we got to see the car in person, Toyota was very secretive about telling us any of the key performance metrics. Toyota did say it is targeting a 30 percent increase in range over the previous Mirai, which would amount to around 405 miles of range on a tank of hydrogen. We also learned the Mirai is underpinned by Toyota's new premium rear-wheel-drive platform. Toyota wouldn't comment specifically on which architecture is being used for the new car, but Jackie Birdsall, Senior Engineer of Fuel Cell Development, hinted it is "an existing rear-wheel-drive platform."
Knowing it is not an all-new platform like the one currently being co-developed with Mazda, it was pretty easy to track down the Mirai platform's origins. Toyota only builds two RWD platforms based on its TNGA global architecture. There is the TNGA-N used on the JDM Toyota Crown, which is highly unlikely, or the TNGA-L, which underpins the LS 500 and LC 500. The Mirai acts as a halo car in Toyota's lineup and what better way to convey a sense of luxury and style than to borrow the chassis of Lexus' most premium models?