Toyota will use the Frankfurt motor show to debut its CS&S (Compact Sports & Specialty) 2+2 open-top sports car which, in terms of size, falls between the current Celica and MR2 models. The car is powered by a new variation of the firm’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system, combining a mid-mounted 1.5-litre petrol unit that drives the rear wheels with a powerful electric motor to drive the front wheels.

Toyota claims CS&S proves that hybrid technology is not just eco-friendly, it can also provide a dynamic and highly enjoyable driving experience. Four-wheel drive and excellent acceleration from the electric motor’s high torque underpin the car’s sporting character, while the Hybrid Synergy Drive system delivers benefits in fuel economy and clean running.

Toyota’s aim in developing the Hybrid Synergy Drive concept is to create more powerful petrol and electric power sources in order to achieve higher levels of performance. Conventional hybrid systems rely on a petrol or diesel engine to produce peak performance, and utilise an electric motor as an ancillary. The Hybrid Synergy Drive system, also used in the new Prius, incorporates a much more powerful electric motor, which means the car relies less on the petrol engine, even when extra performance is needed, as when accelerating or travelling uphill. As the electric motor is much more efficient than the petrol unit, this means better fuel economy, too.

At first glance, the CS&S looks like a two-seater but removable rear canopies conceal a further two seats, making it a true 2+2 sports car. In a further innovative touch that boosts security, the front passenger seat has been designed in such a way that it can be adapted to form a cover for the cockpit area.

The CS&S incorporates a radical new IT concept – Toyota Space Touch. This is an integrated multi-function system that breaks new ground in terms of human-machine interface technology. It is operated by means of a series of holographic projections that the driver ‘touches’ to make a selection.

Spheres appear to float in space, but when touched they allow the user to control the air conditioning, audio, satellite navigation or even Internet connections. It is said to be simple and intuitive to use, yet involves the application of cutting edge technology.