The Toyota MR2 was a mid-engined sports car that was a lot of fun for a low price tag. It hasn’t been produced since 2007, and the MR2 name has sat dormant for more than 15 years, waiting for its chance to rise again. With the Supra being revived a few years ago, rumors are beginning to swirl around Toyota that the MR2 will soon rise from the grave as well.
According to the Japanese auto publication Best Car, a turbo three-cylinder is being developed with the help of Suzuki to bring the MR2 back to life. And supposedly, the new MR2-inspired hoot will be the cheapest mid-engined sports car in the US when unveiled, dwarfing the Porsche 718 Cayman by a huge margin. These are just rumors, but let’s look at the leaks and see what they have to say about the “new” MR2.
Toyota And Suzuki Are Collaborating On The MR2 Engine
The final generation of the MR2 came standard with only one engine option: a 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder making 138 horsepower and 126 lb-ft of torque. The rumored MR2 is actually taking a step back from those numbers. The reports out of Japan state that Suzuki is developing a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that would produce around 120 horsepower.
This seems tame, but it supposedly will be mated to a hybrid powertrain. The performance will likely be similar to that of the GR86, Toyota’s front-engined sports car, and that would honestly be a little disappointing. At least it won’t share the GR86’s boxer engine. It is a little strange that Toyota is apparently working with Suzuki on the engine for the MR2 as they already produce a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder for the Yaris GR.
The Yaris GR also makes loads more power than the rumored Suzuki engine. The hot hatch makes 257 horsepower and redlines at 7200 rpm, numbers that sound a lot more fitting for a mid-engined sports car. We won’t know why they made this decision until the MR2 is officially announced if that ever happens.
The MR2 Is Going To Be A Light And Nimble Hybrid Sports Car
Every gearhead’s eyes light up when they hear about a new mid-engined sports car. Mid-engine means fun, and from what the reports from Japan say, it looks like the MR2 is set to be small, light, and fast. Reportedly, the MR2 could weigh as little as 2,200 pounds and have a wheelbase of around 100 inches.
That is very similar to the GR86, which while not a powerful car, is known to be nimble and planted around corners. Having the engine placed in the middle will only increase agility and driving dynamics. The MR2 also isn’t a completely brand-new platform for Toyota. While you might think that it would share parts with the GR86, it actually is borrowing the DNA of the Yaris.
Reports say that, notably, the front suspension would be shared between the MR2 and the Yaris. This makes it even more confusing as to why they wouldn’t just borrow the engine of the Yaris as well. If they are going to use the front suspension, they might as well take the rear suspension and drop the Yaris engine in to keep everything in-house.
Is A New MR2 Successor Actually Going To Be Produced?
While there is no official announcement about the future of the MR2, there haven’t been any announcements saying that there won’t be a new one. In fact, all signs actually point towards the MR2 already beginning the early stages of production. Toyota recently filed patents for a roadster type of vehicle, only adding fuel to the ‘MR2 revival fire’.
A fully electric concept Toyota roadster was also showcased a few months ago, something that could easily be refitted to hold the rumored hybrid powertrain. More rumors continue to flow out of Toyota, making us think that a new MR2 is more of a ‘when’ rather than an ‘if’.
Alongside all the technical rumors, pricing has also made its way out of Toyota. The MR2 would allegedly be priced within the $20,000 mark. If that is true, the MR2 will by far become the cheapest mid-engined car in America. Currently, the cheapest mid-engined sports car to buy in the US is the 2023 Porsche 718 Cayman at $63,400. Perhaps Toyota saw the success of the mid-engined Chevy Corvette and decided they wanted to get in on the fun. But also make it available to consumers who don’t want the insane power and price tag of the American supercar.
Unfortunately, until there is any concrete evidence of the MR2, we can’t say that the car is on the way. It would be a shame if Toyota didn’t release it. There are plenty of MR2 fans who have been waiting for a modern version of this iconic Japanese sports car. For now, we’ll continue to dream about driving the gorgeous mid-engined Toyota Concept around winding roads until we know the fate of the MR2.