Kurt Verlin
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Next-Gen Toyota MR2 Rumored to Involve Porsche or Lotus

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Some rumors may be too good to be true

Toyota Alessandro Volta concept, front
2004 Alessandro Volta concept
Photo: Toyota

Today in the rumor mill… Japanese site Spyder7 claims Toyota is getting ready to revive the MR2. If it wasn’t for Toyota itself making noises about this in the recent past, we would discard this idea as too good to be true, but Toyota did make those noises, so here we are.

According to the report, Toyota is looking for a partner with which to build the next-gen MR2, which was last in production in 2007. The automaker teamed up with BMW to bring back the beloved Supra and continued its partnership with Subaru in making the second-generation 86 sports car. Supposedly, its top two candidates for collaborating on the MR2 are Lotus and Porsche.

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At the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, Tetsuya Tada — chief engineer for both the Supra and 86 —said Toyota had plans to “have the ‘Three Brothers’ in place as soon as possible,” referring to the brand’s MR2, Celica, and Supra sports car lineup of the 1990s.

We’ve only got one of those three so far, and it’s difficult to imagine how Toyota would justify building two additional small-volume performance cars in the current automotive market that favors SUVs and electrification. It’s plausible, however, that the 86 would take the place of the Celica in this “three brothers” lineup.

Toyota Alessandro Volta concept, rear
Photo: Toyota

The MR2 was a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-seater sports car, which makes a partnership with Lotus or Porsche seem like a good fit, as both of these companies are experts are making these types of cars. Porsche had even been named by Tada in the past as the automaker he’d like to work with to make the car.

Spyder7 says the next-gen Toyota MR2 would have a plug-in hybrid powertrain developing somewhere between 345 and 395 horsepower — and that it would look something like the Alessandro Volta concept from 2004. It would also start at around $55,000 and launch in 2024. That’s a whole lot of claims, but for the time being, we’re going to avoid getting our hopes up.