Toyota hints at electric MR2 successor with new GR sports car concept

    Published On Dec 17, 2021 08:00:00 AM

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    The electric MR2 successor could mark the return of the brand’s ‘Three Brothers’ – the trio of sports cars that include the Celica, Supra, and MR2.

    Toyota is developing a small, two-seat electric sports car that could be the first bespoke EV from its Gazoo Racing performance brand. Shown alongside other Toyota and Lexus concepts – as company president Akio Toyoda revealed plans of launching 15 new EVs by 2030 – the unnamed coupé appears similar in size to Toyota's MR2 sports car, which bowed out in 2007.

    • MR2 successor likely to have a mid-engined, rear-wheel drive format like the original
    • Will prioritise affordability over long range
    • Could be the first of Toyota’s EVs to use an energy-dense solid-state battery

    Toyota GR sports car: what do we know so far?

    Our sister publication, Autocar UK, had reported back in 2018 that Toyota was considering a revival of the MR2 following the launch of the GR Supra and that an electric powertrain was on the cards. At that time, sales and marketing boss Matt Harrison said that plans for a reborn MR2 were at a "discussion stage" and confirmed that it was an attractive proposition to company bosses.

    Toyoda is a well-known sports car enthusiast and has previously spoken of his desire to one day see the 'three brothers' – Supra, Celica and MR2 – revived for the modern era. With the Supra now three years old and the GR86 effectively serving as a Celica equivalent, the focus has likely shifted to the development of a second bespoke GR model.

    The first clues to a reborn MR2 were given in 2015 by the diminutive S-FR concept, which didn't evolve into a production model. This latest concept looks to be slightly larger and features much more aggressive styling cues – unlike anything seen on a production Toyota so far.

    Toyota GR sports car: powertrain and underpinnings

    The GR sports car's cab-forward silhouette hints at a revival of the MR2's characteristic mid-engined format, which could indicate that Toyota is planning a similar stacked-battery arrangement, like Porsche's and Lotus' upcoming electric sports cars.

    This would help the sports car retain some of its spiritual predecessor's trademark dynamic balance, despite the added weight of an EV powertrain. It would also mean the driver could sit as close to the ground as in the MR2, which wouldn't be possible with an underfloor battery pack.

    Whether Toyota's e-TNGA EV platform, as used by the bZ4X SUV, could accommodate such a layout is unconfirmed. So far, that platform has only been deployed in four- and front-wheel-drive formats, and Toyota would no doubt opt for a rear-driven layout in an entry-level electric sports car.

    Toyota has hinted that its entry-level EVs will prioritise affordability over long range, which – together with the need to keep weight down – means the sports car could be among the first of Toyota's EVs to receive a more energy-dense solid-state battery. Lexus has hinted at a similar plan for a new electric supercar it is readying as a spiritual successor to the V10-engined LFA.

    Upcoming Toyota launches in India

    Toyota is gearing up to launch the Hilux pickup in January and it is expected to be priced between Rs 25 lakh-35 lakh (ex-showroom), as it shares a large number of parts with the locally produced Innova Crysta and Fortuner. It will only be the second lifestyle pickup of its kind in our market, finally giving the Isuzu D-Max some competition.

    Toyota also plans to bring the Camry facelift sometime next year. Following Maruti's facelift for the Baleno and the Vitara Brezza, a similar treatment could also be on the cards for the Toyota Glanza and Urban Cruiser next year.

    What are your thoughts on Toyota's plans for an electric successor to the iconic MR2? Let us know in the comments below. 

    Also See:

    Toyota to invest USD 3.4 billion in automotive batteries, new plant in USA

    Toyota plans to introduce solid-state batteries by 2025

    Toyota Cars

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