Rumors out of Japan say that Toyota and some of its partnered companies are working on a lightweight, mid-engined, hybrid sports car. That, plus the fact that in 2021 Toyota showed a purported electric midship sports car concept, has the gossip mill swirling. Obviously, a small midship runabout conjures images of the dearly departed MR2.
The grapevine originates from Japan’s Best Car magazine, which states it’s a triple-collab between Toyota, Suzuki and Daihatsu. Toyota owns Daihatsu outright and has a 5% stake in Suzuki.
The rumors have it playing out like this: Toyota supplies the chassis, using the front suspension of the Yaris. Suzuki provides the engine, a 1.0-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder currently found in the Swift, good for 118 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. It’d be mated to a 5-horsepower mild hybrid electric motor and either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Daihatsu contributes its panel-swapping technology found on its Copen roadster, allowing each marque’s variant to sport a unique body.
Best Car says the wheelbase will be about 100 inches long, about 5 longer than the MR2 Spyder. Dimensions are spec’ed at 165 inches long, 68 inches wide 48 inches high. That’s about a foot longer, an inch wider, and an inch shorter than the MR2 Spyder. Curb weight is targeted at a feathery 2200 pounds.
Incredibly, Best Car says the price will come in between ¥2.2 million and 2.8 million. Normally that would translate to about $22,000-$28,000, but at current exchange rates very favorable to the U.S. dollar, it’s equivalent to an even more unbelievable $16,400 to $21,000.
If true, this would continue Toyota’s tradition of partnering with other companies to build low-volume sports cars: Obligatory mentions to the Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ, Supra and BMW Z4.
Even if this car is built, we think it’s unlikely that it’ll make it to U.S. shores. That would be a shame, though, as the MR2 is now a bona fide and beloved classic, and it would be great to see its spirit live on in a fourth generation.
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