A GR Mirai might be key to showing the performance potential of hydrogen fuel cells.
Toyota is betting big on hydrogen, both from a combustion and a hydrogen fuel cell perspective, and has previewed what a performance variant using the latter powertrain might look like with a new Mirai Sport Concept in Japan.
aBased on the second-generation Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle (FCV), the Mirai Sport Concept previews what may ultimately receive a GR badge (perhaps as a GR Sport model instead of a full GR variant).
Unveiled at the Super Taikyu Fuji 24 Hours race, the sleek sedan benefits from what appears to be the Heavy Metal matte grey paintwork first seen on the GR Corolla and some unique styling elements.
The hood has a carbon fiber wrap effect and a "Mirai Sport" sticker. The front fascia has been made more aggressive thanks to the fitment of a new bumper. Beyond this, the concept does away with the standard chrome grille for a sportier honeycomb-effect option.
Further up, an additional faux air intake flows into the headlamps, providing the once-restrained sedan with a rather angry appearance. 21-inch wheels are painted black and are wrapped in 245/40 Michelin Pilot Sport 5 tires.
Along the side of the vehicle, you'll find additional decals, including one that reads "FCEV," which refers to the unique powertrain. At the rear, you'll find a trunk-mounted spoiler and a faux diffuser, which look rather good together.
Overall, the Mirai's unique shape has benefitted from these sporting updates, and we would love to see Toyota offer this as an optional extra or as a GR Sport trim level. There is no mention of performance upgrades, save for the slightly lowered suspension.
We can assume that the Mirai's power figures remain unchanged. With just 182 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, the hydrogen-powered Toyota is unhurried: 0 to 60 mph takes 9.2 seconds. As a niche product, we find it hard to believe that Japan's largest car company is working on a performance version of the Mirai.
If a sportier version is on the way, we're guessing it will remain a JDM exclusive. To make it appealing, Toyota would have to ensure it produces at least 320 horsepower. Still, it's great to see Toyota showcasing this product and the sportier aesthetic upgrades.
In recent years, the automaker has shaken off its image as a purveyor of reliable but dull cars and transformed itself into a preeminent mainstream enthusiast brand. In the last five years, we've received a new GR86, Supra, GR Yaris, as well as the GR Corolla - and more are on the way.
Hydrogen may be key to this as Toyota is pursuing hydrogen fuel cell EVs and hydrogen combustion options, with concepts and race cars running hydrogen combustion to test its viability.
Toyota's approach to sustainable vehicles has earned it some enemies. Many believe the Japanese brand is unwilling to embrace EVs, but the company has said it prefers a varied approach to the future of motoring.