According to UK auto mag Auto Express, Toyota is planning to revive the MR2 nameplate as a direct competitor to Honda's upcoming CR-Z Hybrid coupe
As is the case for the Honda, the new MR2 will be a hybrid affair and will use a modified version of the Prius' drive train. Is this the Prius Coupe we've been hearing about?
A rear-wheel-drive layout and a paddle-shift gearbox will combine with a petrol and electric engine combo that's tuned for responsiveness, while retaining good economy and low emissions.
The renders doing the rounds at the minute show that the new MR2 could share styling cues with Toyota's FT-HS Concept.
Gone is the roadster body of the previous model as the MR2 returns to the hard-top format of the past, demonstrated by the sleek lines of the coupe shown here.
Toyota executive vice-president Masatami Takimoto outlined Toyota's direction for the MR2:
“We are aware of the fondness with which the MR2 is held in the UK and Europe, and are developing a small hybrid sports car.
“We have set a tough price point (expected to be around AUD $43,000), as it will be easier to sell if it is affordable. It has to be fun to drive, too, which means the hybrid set-up must be different to the Prius’s, with greater responsiveness.”
The previous generation MR2 (shown below) disappeared from Australian showrooms in 2005 and ceased production in 2007.
While the last generation Roadster did win some hearts, many regard the SW20 (pictured below) as the best of the bunch.
The SW20, in its hottest form, featured the same 3S-GTE 2.0 litre four cylinder turbo engine as found in the Celica GT4 of the time and responded very well to tuning.
The MR2 that followed relied on the same 1.8 litre naturally aspirated four cylinder engine that appeared in same generation Corolla. This change, plus the move to a roadster format, pushed many enthusiasts away.
If Toyota can get the formula right, a hybrid MR2 could work a treat. With a 0-100km/h time in the sub seven-second bracket, 4.7 l/100km fuel economy and less than 100g/km of C0², it all sounds like a good combo to us.
With Toyota (and Subaru) said to be working away on the 086A RWD Coupe, Toyota showrooms could get a lot busier in coming years.
[via Auto Express]