Toyota MR2 reportedly returning at the expense of mid-engine GR Yaris

A rumor out of Japan says that not only is Toyota reviving the MR2, but that it will have a purely gasoline-powered engine. In fact, the mid-engined runabout is likely to be the last combustion-only Toyota sports car ever made. The car may also have the GR Yaris to thank for its existence.

According to Best Car, Toyota engineers had been working on an ultra-hardcore mid-engined GRMN Yaris. The car had made it to the prototype testing phase, but because it would largely retain the GR Yaris’ styling, management thought that the car may not have as much impact as they would like. So the project is now shifting gears to become a reborn MR2 instead.

That likely means more sporty styling, rather than the hot hatch-on-steroids look of the GR Yaris. It will continue to use the GR Yaris’ turbocharged 3-cylinder, which has a displacement of 1.6 liters as a nice coincidental throwback to the AW11. Currently, the highest output GR Yaris engine makes 300 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Best Car believes the MR2 would target 316 horsepower and 289 lb-ft. And since this G16E-GTS engine has no hybrid or plug-in variant, the MR2 will be 100 percent petrol-powered.

Those who want an electric version may still be in luck. In an interview with Inside EVs, a Toyota engineer essentially confirmed that the FT-Se concept shown at the Japan Mobility Show (formerly known as the Tokyo Motor Show) that is scheduled for production. It’s not clear whether the gasoline MR2 would share a body with the FT-Se. Best Car quotes a Toyota source as saying the MR2 will be “a modern version of the AW11” but the FT-Se looks a bit more supercar-ish.

However, all this comes with a huge caveat for anyone not in Japan. Best Car says the MR2 will be a limited production model that will not be sold outside of Japan. The original plan for the mid-engine Yaris was a run of just 500 units. The estimated price of this MR2 would be about ¥10 million, or $68,000 USD. As such, it appears that it may be something of a send-off for the internal combustion Toyota sports car. That makes for a pretty compelling swan song, even if we won’t get it. If that’s disappointing, though, there’s always the new Celica.

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5 Responses to Toyota MR2 reportedly returning at the expense of mid-engine GR Yaris

  1. Jim Simpson says:

    Will be interesting to see what happens in the all electric market at least in the USA, as sales have dramatically slipped, dealers are deep discounting cars just to move them. Manufacturers are subsidizing the reduced price sales of cars that most of them are already loosing a lot of money in producing them. Nearly 4000 dealers signed a letter to the President last week asking him to slow the demand for electric car production and it would seem major manufacturers are cancelling EV projects and plants. Will be interesting to see where it all goes… But for now it would seem the novelty of EV’s is wearing a bit thin, not to mention the price of admission being a determent for many buyers.

  2. Bryan Kitsune says:

    Too bad it’s to be so limited in quantity, but still look forward to seeing what they come up with.

    On the note of the Celica, Toyota Times reported on the rumors and talked a bit about Celica history. Maybe that’s a good sign.

    And while it will almost definitely be an EV if it happens…I hope they find a way to make it look good and somehow true to the spirit of the Celica heritage (not sure how that’s possible, but if EVs are inevitable, I hope they can manage). I’d prefer a hybrid with a manual trans (ala CR-Z…but better, obviously).

  3. speedie says:

    There is no market for a small sports car. The MX-5 has the best numbers and they are not very large. If made this will be a halo “good bye” car as Steve noted.

  4. Ian G. says:

    I’d love it if the MR2 was indeed the last combustion engine only car that Toyota sold. I’s like back in 2005 when the MR-S was the only cool/sporty Toyota offering. It will be a bonus if it does have the Hatch type styling. Between this and the upcoming Scout and the 2024 Land Cruiser, Toyota is still king when it comes to coolness.

  5. Jaceracer says:

    I would love a new MR2 but for $68,000 a 3 cyl engine with 300hp and probably a heavy chassis wont cut it for me. However I might put the G16E-GTS in my 1st generation AW11 MR2. Long live the internal combustion engine!

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