10 Things You Need To Know About The 2025 Toyota MR2
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10 Things You Need To Know About The 2025 Toyota MR2

Aug 18, 2023

Here's why the fourth-generation Toyota MR2 will make affordable sports cars great again

Among the many JDM icons is Toyota's MR2. The compact, mid-engine sports car arrived in 1984, preceding another Japanese icon – the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The MR2 was nicknamed the "poor man's Ferrari" and officially ended production in 2007, after three generations. After nearly 20 years, however, Toyota is making plans to resurrect a mid-engine model.

The fourth-generation Toyota MR2 is planned to debut in 2025, which at the time of writing is just two years away. We know Toyota isn't bothered to develop its own sports car from the ground up, unless it is a sporty version of a regular car, like the GR Yaris or GR Corolla. Naturally, this means the Japanese car automaker is, once again, teaming up with another company – two of them in this case – in order to provide some epic fan service to JDM fans.

Toyota, with help from its legendary Gazoo Racing division, has been on a roll, introducing exciting performance models but the next-generation Toyota MR2 might be a bit different in this regard since it doesn't look like it will bear the GR initials. Nevertheless, there is much excitement about the Japanese mid-engine model that makes it a proper, old-school JDM icon, and here are 10 things you need to know about it.

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For the new MR2, Toyota is partnering with Suzuki and Daihatsu. The Japanese automotive giant has a 4.9-percent stake in Suzuki while Daihatsu is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation. With that said, it probably won't come as a surprise that the engine for the new Toyota MR2 is coming from Suzuki.

More specifically, it is the 1.0-liter, turbocharged, inline-three that we see in various Suzuki models. In vanilla form, the small powerplant packs 109 horsepower (81.3 kilowatts) and 125 pound-feet (170 Nm), and while rumors indicate power is rising to 150 horsepower for the MR2, Best Car Web now mentions figures of 120 horsepower and 144.5 pound-feet (196 Nm).

When reporting on the next-gen MR2, Forbesreported that a six-speed, torque-converter automatic will be available. With that said, a six-speed manual will also be available. This coincides with the recent trend among enthusiasts, who want to keep the stick shift alive, not to mention Toyota's development of a manual transmission for EVs.

As we have seen from the GR86 and GR Supra, not having a Toyota engine isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's clear that the 2025 Toyota MR2 will not be "a numbers' car". Still, with the upcoming generation of Toyota's mid-engine sports having a target weight of 2,000 to 2,200 pounds (907 - 998 kg), the compact, mid-engine Toyota should still have a good enough power-to-weight ratio, despite having only 150 horsepower.

The original AW10/11 Toyota MR2 had a supercharged 1.6-liter unit that put out 145 horsepower (108 kilowatts) and 137 pound-feet (186 Nm) and was still capable of a 6.5-second 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint, back in 1986. The classic model was also heavier, boasting a curb weight of 2,494 pounds (1,131 kg) in supercharged form, so don't let the future MR2's little engine dissuade you.

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Sports cars are, generally, expected to have more exotic underpinnings compared to a brand's more run-of-the-mill models. That's not the case for the upcoming Toyota MR2. Given the brand's more recent performance models and the fact the next-gen MR2 is meant to be as compact and as lightweight as possible, you would expect it to share underpinnings with the rally-bred GR Yaris.

The company's TNGA platform is still at the core of the new MR2, but unlike the GR Yaris, which is underpinned by a hybrid of the GA-B platform at the front and GA-C platform at the rear, the MR2's underpinnings will be all-new but will utilize the front suspension from the regular Yaris' GA-B platform.

So far, we know that the 2025 Toyota MR2's engine will come from Suzuki while the chassis is being sourced from within Toyota's house. Meanwhile, Toyota's subsidiary, Daihatsu, has been tasked with coming up with the MR2's styling. So far, we do not have a definitive lock on the future MR2's final design, although we have some pretty convincing estimations of it.

We do know that Daihatsu has to come up with a completely new corporate design that will, later, be adapted for different brands. One hint at the new MR2's design could be the Toyota Sports EV concept, presented along with the largest array of Toyota concept cars ever seen in one place. While that one envisions a compact, mid-engine, EV sports car, the design could be an inspiration for the new ICE-powered MR2.

RELATED: Remembering the Toyota MR2 - The Perfect Compact Sports Car

While cars in general, are becoming less affordable, not counting the insane dealer markups, Toyota's main goal for the new MR2 is to be the most affordable sports car, you can buy. By utilizing hardware from mainstream models and sharing developmental costs between the three companies, the MR2 will be priced at 2.2 to 2.8 yen in Japan, which comes to $16,000 and $21,000.

This isn't a vast price range, but frankly, we don't see how Toyota will offer a wide variety of trims on a small, lightweight sports car that will, likely, be minimalist by design. Nevertheless, if the 2025 Toyota MR2 truly starts in the ballpark of $16,000, it will be a compelling proposition in the sports car segment for those looking for a purer driving experience, unburdened by technology.

Suzuki is a name mostly associated with motorcycles. While the company still makes cars, high-performance models are not at the top of its agenda. With that said, given the joint efforts of the three companies, a Suzuki-badged version of the new MR2 could appear. We have already seen Toyota do that with its own GT/GR86 and Subaru's BRZ, and given the aforementioned $16,000 predicted starting price, it wouldn't be a surprise for the most affordable version of the car to come from Suzuki.

Toyota has always been tailored for a slightly upper echelon of the automotive market, while Suzuki's offerings have always been a more budget-friendly alternative. A Japanese publication, pretty much, confirmed that Toyota, Daihatsu, and Suzuki will have a version of the same car. Our best bet is that, if this happens, Toyota's version of the car will be slightly more upscale and more generously equipped.

RELATED: A Toyota MR2 Really Is On the Track With a McLaren And It's Not Out of Place

Toyota's GR86 and Subaru's new BRZ came out for the 2022 model year, in order to fix the previous generation's lack of power. While Toyota is planning to retire the front-engine model after 2025, we could be getting a turbocharged GR86 before that happens. For better or worse, Toyota does not want to offer too many iconic nameplates at the same time as it could result in one model hurting sales of another.

While the GR Supra will still remain the flagship Toyota performance model, the 2025 MR2 will replace the GR86 as the brand's entry-level sporty proposition. Our only hope is that, at some point, Toyota decides to stick the GR Yaris' engine in it.

The most recent scoop from Japanese publication, Best Car Web, sheds some more light on the jointly-developed MR2. We now know that Suzuki's K10C engine will, not only, be upgraded, but will also work as part of a Mild-hybrid system. The electric motor is around five horsepower and will likely be there to ensure a more consistent power delivery, as well as negate the effects of turbo lag and gear changes.

This is slightly contradicting Toyota's original idea to make the next-gen MR2 as lightweight as possible, but on the other hand, it will allow the mid-ship sports car to better cope with the ever-stringent emissions requirements. Moreover, a mild hybrid is the lightest possible form of a hybrid powertrain, so it will still be a lightweight car.

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The Japanese publication also sheds some light on the dimensions of the upcoming Toyota MR2. The car's overall length is 4,200 mm (165.35 inches) while the width is 1,720 mm (67.71 inches) and the height, is 1,220 mm (48.03 inches). The car will sit on a wheelbase that spans 2,550 mm (100.39 inches), which is only slightly less than the GR Yaris’ 2,560 mm (100.79-inch) wheelbase.

If we compare its natural competitor from Japan, the Mazda MX-5, that one is even smaller in some regards. Its overall length is 3,914 mm (154.09 inches) while it's 1,735 mm (68.31 inches) wide and 1,234 mm (48.58 inches) tall. Its wheelbase is smaller than the MR2's at 2,309 mm (90.91 inches), which combined with a lower height, slightly lower weight, and a mid-engine layout, should make it more stable and provide better ride quality but might result in the car being less eager to change direction.

The upcoming Toyota MR2 will be the new Lotus Elise when it comes out. The British lightweight model was axed along with other iconic Lotus models in order to make way for the new generation of more livable sports cars. While neither the MR2 nor the Elise were ever all about power, it seems GR will be involved in a high-performance version of the Japanese icon.

We don't know much about that other than it will be exclusive to Toyota's version of the car. It could be a more heavily-electrified version, featuring the same 996cc Suzuki engine, or it could be a more powerful turbocharged engine like Suzuki Swift Sport's 1.4-liter mill or even Toyota's mighty G16E-GTS, turbo-three unit. Here's hoping they make it.

Dim's fascination with cars began when he was just six. Born into a family of car enthusiasts and racing drivers, he started learning basic mechanics and driving from an early age. While he loves writing for any car, Dim is most interested in exploring obscure and forgotten cars as well as finding the best deals on the enthusiast car market. His passion took him to car restoration in the Malta Classic Car Museum, where he briefly worked on a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Junior. In Malta, he also graduated Media and Communications, which further improved his skills as an automotive journalist. Dim is always ready to get behind the wheel of any car and tell you all about it later.