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The Toyota MR2 could be revived as a hybrid sports car

The Toyota MR2 could be revived as a hybrid sports car

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Rumors from Japan say that Toyota and some of its partner companies are working on a mid-engine lightweight hybrid sports car. That and the fact that Toyota showed off a supposedly electric mid-size sports car concept in 2021 is getting the gossip mill pumping. Apparently, a small midship runabout conjures up images of the dearly departed MR2.

The vine comes from Japan’s Best Car magazine, which says it’s a three-way collaboration between Toyota, Suzuki and Daihatsu. Toyota fully owns Daihatsu and has a 5% stake in Suzuki.

Rumor has it that Toyota will supply the chassis, using the Yaris’ front suspension. Suzuki supplies the engine, a turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-cylinder currently found in the Swift, good for 118 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. It would be mated to a 5hp mild hybrid electric motor and either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. Daihatsu contributes its panel-swapping technology found in its Copen Roadster, allowing each brand’s variant to showcase a unique body.

Best Car says the wheelbase will be around 100 inches, about 5 longer than the MR2 Spyder. The dimensions are given as 165 inches in length, 68 inches in width and 48 inches in height. That’s roughly a foot longer, an inch wider, and an inch shorter than the MR2 Spyder. Curb weight is targeted at a featherweight 2200 pounds.

Incredibly, Best Car says the price will be between 2.2 million and 2.8 million yen. Normally that would mean around $22,000-$28,000, but at current exchange rates, which are very favorable for the US dollar, it’s an even more incredible $16,400-$21,000.

If true, it would continue Toyota’s tradition of partnering with other companies to build small-series sports cars: Mandatory mention for the Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ, Supra and BMW Z4.

Even if this car is built, we think it’s unlikely that it will reach US shores. That would be a shame though as the MR2 is now a true and beloved classic and it would be great to see its spirit live on in a fourth generation.

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