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The Japanese Sport Compact Segment is Enthused by a Possible Revival of Toyota MR2

Image Source: Walter Eric Sy @ShutterStock

As the year 2024 is drawing to a close, speculation continues to swirl in the automotive community regarding the potential comeback of Toyota’s legendary ‘MR2’ name.

Over the past few years, various impressive concept designs have kept enthusiasts engaged in discussions. Although not confirmed officially, these creations have stirred excitement as they are the interpretations of skilled artists rather than concrete plans from Toyota.

A Shift Towards Reality

Earlier this year, there was a possibility that if the MR2 were to return, it could lean towards electric propulsion, given the current automotive trends. However, the unveiling of Toyota’s FT-Se concept car left room for speculation, as its mid-engine layout strongly suggested the potential use of a gasoline or hybrid powertrain placed behind the driver’s cabin.

Referred to as one of Toyota’s future EV sports cars, the FT-Se concept (above) hints at the revival of a potential petrol-powered MR2

While a generation of younger car enthusiasts would welcome an electric version, it may not capture the essence that once defined the MR2. Official documentation states that the acronym stands for “Midship Runabout 2-seater,” symbolizing its mid-engine and rear-wheel drive configuration. A smaller group affectionately calls it “mister two” in a playful manner.

The latest industry murmurs suggest that the MR2 is likely to stay true to its roots, with two potential scenarios emerging from the ongoing discussions. One possibility is that the new MR2 might adopt the 1.6L turbocharged 3-cylinder engine from the GR Corolla, which seems like a sensible choice.

Collaboration Breeds Innovation

Recent updates indicate that the development of the MR2 could be a collaborative endeavor involving Toyota, along with its subsidiaries Suzuki and Daihatsu. Suzuki is renowned for manufacturing compact cars and engines, suggesting a promising partnership. There are hints that the platform may offer a manual transmission option, adding to the excitement.

These nuances will play a critical role in addressing both emissions and performance aspects, showing Toyota’s commitment to balance both dimensions. Daihatsu is set to contribute significantly to the overall design process, while speculations have also surfaced regarding a potential collaboration with Porsche. The possibilities are indeed intriguing.

The image above is a concept rendering by carscoops – no official details on the final design are available yet, but it offers a fascinating preview of the upcoming MR2 with all the GR enhancements

Unveiling Tomorrow

It is becoming increasingly likely that the ‘MR2’ moniker will be resurrected for a fifth generation, with sources hinting at a potential debut by the 2025 model year. The extent to which it will carry forward the spirit of its predecessors remains uncertain, but recent updates paint a promising picture for what Toyota has in store. The collaborations mentioned earlier pave the way for a diverse range of engine and trim options. A Lexus variant in the future wouldn’t be out of the question as well.

Can the upcoming Toyota MR2 match the charm of its predecessors? Only time will tell…

Car enthusiasts have been eagerly anticipating the return of an affordable mid-engine performance vehicle since the era of the last MR2. While some may argue for considering the MR-S, it failed to achieve the same level of success and acclaim as the MR2.

It’s worth acknowledging the Pontiac Fiero’s role as a key player in this category. Toyota’s infusion of its reputation for superior build quality elevated the landscape of accessible mid-engine performance offerings. If all falls into place as envisioned, it looks like those exciting days might return. Keep watching!

Image Source: Walter Eric Sy @ShutterStock

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