A hybrid powertrain didn't win the Honda CR-Z numerous fans, but it might be the magic ingredient in making the Subaru BRZ more potent. This is the "Car of the Future" as envisioned by Mississippi State University's Center of Advanced Vehicular Systems – the result of a two-year project, which married a front-mounted 850 cc snowmobile engine with two electric motors powering the rear wheels. The battery pack accounts for 12.7 kWh, which enables the car to go 50 miles on just electric juice.

The two-liter boxer engine is no more, but what the car loses in cubic inches it gains in MPG. According to MSU engineers, the re-engineered car gets 104 mpg equivalent, and it only weighs 2,904 lbs: about 60 lbs more than an unmodified Sportshift BRZ. It clocks a 0-60 mph run at around 5.7 seconds, too, which beats a stock automatic BRZ by a second. The electric brain of the car improves the range by calculating optimizing algorithms, based on earlier driving. The guys from MSU's Bagley College of Engineering call this Predictive Engine Control.

The most likable thing about this project might be that it's still clothed in a sports car body. Future-proof car designs are often focused on mobility instead of the driver, and choosing a BRZ as the basis shows how there's still room for petrolheads in the future.

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