Potential Toyota MR2 revival could get GR Corolla engine: report

Jet Sanchez
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The Toyota GR EV concept from 2021.

The Toyota GR EV concept from 2021.

The first-ever Japan Mobility Show is almost upon us, and with it comes an assault of rumblings and rumours that could very well last us until the end of the year. Among the biggest news is the possibility of Toyota reviving the iconic MR2 sports car with the GR Corolla engine under the hood. With that said, stick around to find out everything there is to know about the new Toyota MR2.

Power proposition

Toyota GR EV concept 2021

A recent report by the Japanese magazine Best Car suggests Toyota is considering the GR Corolla's G16E-GTS three-cylinder turbocharged engine for the rumoured MR2 revival. 

Known for its spirited performance in the GR Corolla and GR Yaris, this 1.6-litre petrol engine generates 221kW and 370Nm of torque. It sends power to all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. It’s a proven and dependable mill, and one might even assert it’s a no-brainer for a compact, rear-wheel-drive (RWD) sports car like the MR2.

Initially, there were talks of a 1.0-litre Suzuki engine powering a new mid-engine micro sports car, with hybrid technology also under consideration. Then, in 2021, Toyota unveiled its slate of upcoming EVs in concept form, one of which looks suspiciously like a modern interpretation of the original MR2.

However, the latest reports suggest a shift towards a pure internal combustion engine (ICE). This information lines up with the Japanese report, but we wouldn't discount the possibility of additional powertrain options for the new MR2, which could eventually include hybrid or full electric. 

Can new live up to old?

1987 Toyota MR2

Introduced in 1984, the Toyota MR2 gained a cult following for its compact size, lightweight design, and mid-engine layout, offering an affordable sports car experience. Its well-balanced chassis and RWD setup facilitated nimble handling and an engaging drive.

Across three generations, the MR2 evolved while retaining its core sporty essence, with the last generation produced until 2007 introducing a convertible variant, the MR2 Spyder.

The potential revival aims to modernise the MR2 with a contemporary powertrain while paying homage to its original sporty characteristics. The inclusion of the GR Corolla's engine may be one of the first steps to the MR2’s return.

New Toyota MR2 market availability 

Toyota GR EV concept 2021

Despite a lack of official updates from Toyota, some insiders have hinted at a possible Japan-exclusive release for the new MR2, which could disappoint global enthusiasts. Yet, this information is speculative, and the potential wide appeal for such a revival could still sway Toyota's strategic decisions and influence its final market strategy.The Japan Mobility Show 2023 is happening from 26 October to 5 November. It remains to be seen whether Toyota will reveal more infromation about the new MR2.

Would you like to see the Toyota MR2 return, particularly to New Zealand? Let us know by answering the poll below!

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