More information on possible Toyota MR2 revival emerges – report

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Despite showing two electric concept cars, unconfirmed reports out of Japan claim Toyota is preparing to the MR2 with the three-cylinder turbo engine from the GR Yaris.

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A new reports out of Japan claims the Toyota MR2 is preparing to make a comeback – but not as an electric car.

Japanese outlet Best Car – known for having sources inside Toyota – has published information claimed to outline the revival of the MR2 sports car with the 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo engine from the GR Yaris and GR Corolla hot hatchbacks.

Previous sources have suggested the MR2 revival could be electric, previewed at the recent Tokyo motor show with the Toyota FT-Se concept car (below) – and in 2021 by a concept vehicle known as the Toyota Sports EV (above).

However, the latest report claims Toyota is pursuing the idea of a mid-engine MR2 as a ‘last hurrah’ for petrol-powered GR performance cars, utilising the turbo three-cylinder engine – following the cancellation of a mid-engined GRMN Yaris project.

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The new-generation MR2 is claimed to be a modern interpretation of the original ‘AW11’ model – a compact coupe originally available with a supercharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine fitted behind the driver and passenger, praised by critics during the 1980s for its performance and value.

Best Car claims a source inside the Japanese car giant said the MR2 “will probably be Toyota’s last pure [petrol-powered] sports car”.

The Toyota FT-Se concept car unveiled in recent months is underpinned by the Japanese car giant’s next-generation electric-car platform, which cannot support petrol engines.

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Instead the showroom version of the FT-Se would need to be unrelated to any new petrol-powered MR2.

The last MR2 went out of production in 2007, representing almost two decades between the two generations – if the latest reports prove to be true.

At the time it was axed, the Toyota MR2 was powered by a 1.8-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine borrowed from the Corolla, sold in Australia exclusively with a six-speed single-clutch automated sequential manual transmission sending 103kW and 170Nm to the rear wheels.

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than two decades. Ben began writing professionally more than 15 years ago and was previously an interstate truck driver. He completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021 and is considered an expert on classic car investment.

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