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.