There’s a rumor coming out of Japan that a new mid-engine sports car is being jointly developed by Suzuki, Toyota, and Daihatsu. If true — and that’s skyscraper-sized if — it could kill two birds with one stone for Toyota. It could represent the “third brother” in the three sports car lineup that Toyota has claimed to want ever since the debut of the S-FR concept, and mark the long-awaited return of the MR2.
The report comes out in the December 10 issue of Best Car magazine, but for now we only get a few teases online. The car is said to be powered by a 1.0-liter engine developed by Suzuki, in a mid-engine chassis also developed by Suzuki. Because Toyota now owns a 5 percent stake in Suzuki, as well as a 100 percent stake in Daihatsu, the car could be sold under all three brands with just minor changes in the fascias and lights.
For many years now, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda has said he wanted “three sports car brothers” in the Toyota lineup. In this hierarchy the Supra would be the oldest and the 86 the middle child. The smallest has always been the missing link, at some point rumored to be the S-FR before it was canceled. Other rumors have said that Toyota was developing a mid-engined sports car with Subaru that would come back as the next MR2.
If we had to pick in order of likelihood, from pie-in-the-sky to most probable, we’d rank them thusly. The mid-engine Subaru seems insane, mostly because Toyota already has the BRZ/GR86 and doesn’t need another Subaru-built sports car to market in the same way. Next comes the Suzuki/Daihatsu option, as a smaller-than-GR86 sports car would make more sense marketed as a Suzuki or Daihatsu, which specialize in compact and kei car models. Also, Suzuki at least has some precedence with the Cara shared with the Mazda AZ-1.
Of course, the most likely scenario is that none of this happens at all. And even if it does, it’s almost certain that a 1.0-liter mid-engined sports car would never sell in the U.S., so it would be at least 25 years before we saw one here. However, Best Car says that this mythical car is being planned for a 2025 release. We’ll see.