• We Wish We Could Say This is the New Toyota MR2

Here’s some food for thought we hope Toyota notices

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With so many past nameplates making a comeback these days – most of them in the wrong guise, as SUVs or crossovers – it wouldn’t hurt if Toyota decided to revive the MR2, it’s much-praised mid-engine sports car from the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Another car that should make a comeback, a Toyota MR2.

Posted by Rain Prisk on Thursday, April 8, 2021

I’m writing this not because I happened to have a dream one night about the Toyota MR2, but because Rain Prisk put his skills to good use and imagined what a modern-day MR2 would look like.

Mind you, the MR2 has a passionate fanbase and the reactions to Prisk’s design are all positive. It could be because the artist has decided to stick with the mid-engine layout or maybe it’s the futuristic, a la Khyzyl Saleem vibe that the design study oozes.

We Wish We Could Say This is the New Toyota MR2
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Obviously, we can’t sample such a car on the road but the Toyota MR2 has been a long-time revered sports car. When it first came out, journalists were absolutely raving about its “finely balance handling, its superb five-speed gearbox, and its jewel-like twin-cam, sixteen-valve, four cylinder engine.”

That’s, in fact, a sample of what Car and Driver had to say about the MR2 in its long-term test with the first-generation of the sports car, an article that was published in the magazine’s June 1986 issue.

The Toyota MR2’s lifetime spanned over three generations, but it was the first one that set the tone for the sports car’s legacy. Toyota actually engineered the car to accommodate a 2.0-liter engine, but the first MR2 ended up with a 1.6-liter naturally-aspirated mill borrowed from the E80 Series Corolla. In the US-version MR2, the powerplant produced 112 horsepower, while the Japan model had 128 horsepower on tap.

The second Generation didn’t hit US soil until early 1990. The new car was heavier but Toyota spent even more time tweaking its handling characteristics, which in time helped the MR2 develop a reputation as the “baby Ferrari” or “poor man’s Ferrari.” US models came with either a 2.2-liter naturally-aspirated mill (130 horsepower) or the turbocharged 2.0-liter unit (200 horsepower) introduced in the MR2 Turbo.

2000 - 2005 Toyota MR2 Spyder
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For the third generation, Toyota opted for the Spyder name add-on in the US. The last iteration of the MR2 was powered by a 1.8-liter, aluminum-alloy inline-four engine with a double-overhead camshaft and four valves per cylinder. Power was rated at 138 horsepower and manual versions were as light as 996 kilos (2,195 pounds).

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
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