The MR2 is coming! Prototype testing underway for mid-engine Toyota MR2 sports car with turbo engine – report

The MR2 is coming! Prototype testing underway for mid-engine Toyota MR2 sports car with turbo engine - report
The MR2 is coming! Prototype testing underway for mid-engine Toyota MR2 sports car with turbo engine - report

Toyota is into the testing stages of its new MR2 sports car, with an engine borrowed from an acclaimed GR model and styling that could come from one of its recent concepts.

Japanese motoring magazine Best Car cites reliable sources who say the MR2 is no longer just a concept, but a prototype currently being tested by the world’s biggest car brand – with a combustion engine, possibly as Toyota’s last purely combustion sports car.

While no one outside of Toyota knows what the car will look like, Best Car’s informant says the model will be a ‘modern AW11’ thus paying homage to the first generation of the sports car.

The Japanese magazine has taken that idea and run with it for its digital renders (above), with some 1980s style cues interspersed with a modern silhouette not too far away from some of Toyota’s more recent cars (such as the Prius).

It should be noted that Toyota’s recent (electric) FT-Se Concept also looks to be about the perfect size and packaging for a mid-engine sports car, and the company didn’t necessarily confirm a drivetrain type for the production version, meaning it could be the basis for the new MR2.

The big spanner in the works for this theory is that a model styled very similarly to the FT-Se Concept appears in Toyota’s line-up of planned electric cars to be released this decade. It’s not out of the question for the model to eventually go from petrol to EV power.

Best Car predicts that the new MR2 will very expensive, estimating around 10 million yen (AU$102,000). (Image: Best Car Web) Best Car predicts that the new MR2 will very expensive, estimating around 10 million yen (AU$102,000). (Image: Best Car Web)

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A GR Yaris basis could also be the platform used for the eventual new MR2, as the powertrain currently under testing with the prototype is the engine from the Toyota GR Yaris, a turbo 1.6-litre three-cylinder engine.

The prototype reportedly borrows heavily from the even hotter GRMN Yaris, which was limited to 500 units of production. Best Car predicts that because of this, the new MR2 will be not only be very expensive, estimating around 10 million yen (AU$102,000), but also that its production will be very limited.

Pricing and availability like this means the eventual product, if it comes to fruition, would have Toyota building a rival to the likes of the Porsche Cayman or Alpine A110.

Toyota’s recent (electric) FT-Se Concept could be the basis for the new MR2. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

This comes as two other potential Toyota sports cars are rumoured, one of which being the return of the Celica as mentioned by former CEO and current Chair Akio Toyoda, as well as current CEO Koji Sato.

The influence of sports car enthusiast Toyoda on his family’s company is what pushed the GR brand to its success, and the executive has also made a formal request for the company to build a new Celica.

Earlier reports (also from Best Car) also place Toyota as working closely with Daihatsu and Suzuki on a kei-sized sports car with a mid-mounted 996cc three-cylinder engine, though it’s possible this has progressed into the MR2 currently being tested.

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