Off-Duty Toyota Engineers Build MR2 Hybrid Roadster

Everyone needs a hobby, but what if you're a Toyota engineer and building technologically advanced prototypes is your hobby? Don't you get enough of that at work? Apparently not, since that was the motivation behind the plug-in sportscar you see here. Built on an old MR2 platform using from Toyota's corporate Prius/Corolla parts bins by company engineers with a lot of free time on their hands, the Toyota TE-S800 is a sweet-looking plug-in hybrid roadster that weighs less than 2000 lbs. and rockets to 60 MPH in just 5.8 seconds (!).

Motive power is provided by Toyota's 1.5 liter Otto-cycle 1NZ-FE engine, sold in the US under the hood of the latest Prius. The car features a free-flowing sport exhaust that allows the engine to kick out more than 115 hp at 6400 rpm. That engine is boosted by the plug-in Prius' 102 hp electric motor coupled to a Toyota E-CVT transmission.

The TE-S800 was quietly unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon, but didn't get much press since it wasn't an "official" project. All the same, this hybrid roadster is based on a chassis that met US crash standards the last time it was imported, and is powered by a drivetrain that is definitely clean enough to meet US emissions standards. What do you guys think? Is this the kind of mid-engined go-fast hybrid Toyota should build, or would you be more excited about a KERS-equipped FR-S or the more luxurious Lexus RC300h?

Originally published on Gas 2.