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Toyota MR2 could make a comeback

by Ronan Glon

The project is at the "discussion stage."

Toyota's sports car offensive could include a born-again MR2, the company has confirmed.

Last made in 2007, the MR2 is one of the so-called three brothers that company boss Akio Toyoda wants to bring back into showrooms. The other two models are the Celica and the Supra. The 86 is essentially today's Celica (at least in terms of positioning) and the is right around the corner, which leaves the MR2 as the only absentee.

Matt Harrison, Toyota's European vice president of sales and marketing, told British magazine that the project is currently at the "discussion stage." He didn't reveal precisely when the model will go on sale if it receives the green light for production or what form it would take, though it would presumably pick up where the last-generation model (pictured) left off. That means a mid-engined roadster that's relatively affordable and relatively nimble -- think of it as a budget Boxster.

Autocar points out Toyota could join forces with another auto-maker to share the cost burden of developing a low-volume model. It designed the 86 with Subaru and it enlisted BMW's help for the Supra. Who it teams up with -- assuming it doesn't choose to design the model on its own -- will have a significant influence on what the MR2 is powered by. The options include a gasoline engine, a hybrid setup, and even an electric powertrain.

If the project moves forward, Toyota isn't expected to release the next MR2 until the first half of the next decade. Forging a partnership with another company would create two affordable mid-engined models for enthusiasts to drool over. How about a 21st century Fiat X1/9 with Toyota reliability?

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