Is Toyota’s 400hp Hybrid-R Concept the hot hatch of our dreams?

And the prize for shortest, most hobbit-sized press release goes to Toyota.

The Japanese automaker, and the automotive industry’s most successful hybrid manufacturer, recently released another teaser of its Hybrid-R Concept, ahead of its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

While the picture doesn’t offer much in the way of design clues, showing nothing more than a front air scoop, pipe-like LED trim and the fuzzy outline of a turned wheel, Toyota was kind enough to divulge that the concept is expected to deliver over 400 horsepower.

You read that right, a 400hp Toyota… something.

Proving more cryptic than the teaser image, the press release goes on to reveal that the Hybrid-R Concept is based on a current Toyota production model and “is equipped with a powertrain that features similar technology to that used by Toyota Racing’s TS030 Hybrid race car.”

If speculation is to be believed (isn’t it always?) the rumor mill is tossing around the idea that the Hybrid-R is related to the Yaris. While the words “Yaris” and “fast” are usually diametrically opposed, if that were the case then the Hybrid-R could offer go-fast fanatics a helluva good time on the cheap.

That, of course, is assuming Toyota moves it into production and can keep costs down.

Honda already took the lead with a sporty hatch-hybrid of its own, the CRZ, but that didn’t exactly pan out. DT recently drove the Chevy Spark EV, and while it’s not a hybrid, it is a close cousin of the subcompact Yaris and packs around 130hp and 400 foot-pounds of torque. Was it fast? Yes, as in 7.6 seconds for a 0-60 run and genuinely hot acceleration. It was also quiet and composed in the twisties. So an R-subcompact hybrid may not violate the laws of performance physics after all.

It’ll be interesting to see what Toyota can do, given the company’s successful track record with Prius hybrids and so forth. If anyone can pull it off, Toyota can, even with a lowly Yaris to work from.

More info will likely be revealed during Toyota’s press conference on September 10 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. We’ll keep you updated.

A 400hp hybrid Yaris? Hot hatch overkill or just what the segment needs? Tell us in comments.

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