Report: Toyota MR2 could come back as a lightweight electric

A new Toyota MR2 could be on the horizon.

Toyota is coming on strong in the sporty car market as of late. Besides the new Supra, it was recently confirmed the 86 is coming back with more help from Subaru. Now we’re seeing rumors of a next-gen Toyota MR2, according to a report from Car and Driver.

For the youngs, the MR2 was a rear-wheel-drive, midengine sports car built in the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s. It featured fully independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes in an era when it was rare and a transverse-mounted inline-four behind the driver.

The first-generation of Toyota MR2 was produced from 1984-1989.

The first gen (W10) ran from ’84-’89 and usually came with a 1.6-liter four making 112 hp in the U.S. That’s not a large amount, but the car did only weigh about 2,300 pounds. The handling was also set up by Lotus, and that company knows how to do a low-power vehicle. In 1988, we got a supercharged version making 145 hp and 137 lb-ft. It was later converted to a rally car by Toyota Team Europe.

The second-gen Toyota MR2 ran from 1989-1999.

The second generation started in 1989 and was both larger and heavier. Still, Toyota had professional race drivers, including Dan Gurney, help with the tuning. That, plus the new 2.0-liter NA (130 hp) and later turbocharged engines (200 hp), kept the car in the performance market. There were several variants as well as race-tune versions by TOM’S and others.

The third-gen Toyota MR2 was produced from 1999-2007.

In 1999, the U.S. received the third-generation MR2 featuring only a 1.8-liter four that made 138 hp and 126 lb-ft with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed sequential manual. It was called the MR2 Spyder here in the States, but in Japan and Europe a hardtop was available.

So, what’s the next step? A new powertrain perhaps for a fourth-generation car? C&D posits an electric or hybrid powertrain — which makes sense — and hopefully something lightweight. Toyota had three sports cars in the 1980s, and it may want to return to that. We could also be looking at another collaboration, and that’s good for us enthusiasts. If a carmaker can deliver a car quicker, with better-developed parts, for less, then I’m all in.

Any new MR2 is still a ways out, maybe five years, but we’ll keep our eyes on it. Check out the cool-looking mock-up of what the new MR2 could look like at C&D.

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