Improvement head Satoki Oya mentioned the Prius Prime’s energy must rise even additional to justify getting the subbrand’s black-and-red GR badge.

However by some measures, the plug-in Prius is already approaching GR territory.

The GR86 sporty coupe, for instance, develops 173 kilowatts of energy — not far off Prius Prime’s 164 — though the GR86 bolts 0-60 virtually a second quicker, at about 5.8 seconds.

Different tweaks for a GR Prius would possible embrace tightened-up suspensions and dealing with, Oya mentioned. And do not forget a particular aero bundle and racing-inspired detailing, like funky seat stitching.

Regardless of their enthusiasm, each Ueda and Oya, in addition to the remainder of the Prius designers and engineers readily available on the circuit, insisted there are nonetheless no concrete plans for a GR Prius.

If one lands on vendor tons, nevertheless, it would not be the primary.

Toyota floated a sporty-styled Prius G’s from 2011 to 2014 through the nameplate’s third technology. And from 2017 till final month, Toyota provided a Prius GR Sport in Japan.

However these particular variations left the powertrain basically untouched. The adjustments had been largely beauty. And detractors would undoubtedly argue that earlier iterations of the bulbous Prius might by no means shed their frumpy aura, irrespective of how a lot lipstick you slather on.

However the brand new Prius? Nicely, that is a special animal.

When and if it arrives, that GR Prius may be the primary Prius worthy of the title.