Iconic performance Toyota’s seem to be the order of the day, with a revived Supra already confirmed and now reports are emerging of a 21st century reboot for the mid-engined MR-2.
The comments come directly from senior Toyota engineer, Tetsuya Tada, who was asked point-blank by Evo in the UK if a return to Toyota’s three-tiered range was possible. Tada’s response: “We hope to have the three brothers in place as soon as possible.”
The three brother’s he’s referring too are Celica, Supra, and MR-2, Toyota’s star-cars during the 1980s and 1990s. In the present day the 86 now takes the place of the Celica as something of a spiritual successor to early rear wheel drive models.
A new Supra is also due to be revealed before the end of this year, with the first preview of what to expect coming in the form of Toyota’s FT-1 concept of 2014. No firm details have been revealed, but twin-turbo V6 power seems most likely, along with the possibility of performance-boosting hybrid technology.
Toyota’s reputation for fun, affordable sport offerings during the 70s, 80s and 90’s flourished before taking a hit during the 00’s with the Celica, Supra and MR-2 all phased out, leaving nothing of note in the Toyota range until the Toyota 86 restarted the otherwise flat-lining low-cost rear wheel drive segment in 2012.
Tada hints that the revived MR-2 will be a post-2020 proposition, adhering to a “simple is best” mantra, despite the ever-mounting complications of passing noise and emissions regulations.
He also indicated that “When it comes to installing batteries, the mid ship layout is an attractive one,” meaning that although it may not be presented at launch, a hybrid-assisted model seems likely to form part of the long-term MR-2 plan.
Unfortunately Tada gave no indication as to whether the MR-2 would feature a targa roof, as per the first two generations, a folding soft-top like the final MR-2, or a more rigid and potentially lighter fixed roof, nor was their any comment of how an additional sports car would be positioned, though it seems likely any new MR-2 would fill the price and performance gap between the 86 and the Supra when it arrives.
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