Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
The rear-wheel-drive sports car MR2 was a two-seat, mid-engined car produced by the Japanese manufacturer Toyota.
The first generation was released in 1984 and it was in 1990 when the 2nd generation was unveiled to the public.
The exterior design of the MR2 was refreshed, the car got larger and its weight was also increased. The new MR2 was equipped with new engines and a more spacious, luxurious cabin.
The new exterior lines the MR2 looked similar to the ones on the Ferrari, reason why some considered the MR2 to be the less expensive version of a Ferrari.
THe MR2 was sold all over the world, with different trim levels depending on the market.
For the Japanese market, the MR2 came in 4 trim levels: G, G-Limited, GT-S and GT. The power of the engines ranged between 165 hp and 218 hp.
The MR2 offered for the European market came in 3 versions: the Coupe, the GT Coupe and the GT T-Bar. The top of the range came with leather upholstery and a premium, 8-speaker sound system.
On the US market, the MR2 came with only two trim levels: the MR2 and the MR2 Turbo. The Turbo version was fitted with a turbocharged engine of 2.0-liters that cranked out 200 hp.
After the failure of Fiat X1/9 and the Porsche 914, Toyota tried its muscles with a mid-engine, light car, sports car for the masses.
It was the first-gen MR2, launched in 1984.
Despite its uninspired name, that meant: Mid-engine, Rear-wheel-drive, 2-seat, the MR2 was sold well all over the world. In French-speaking countries, it was named only MR, since the MR2 sounded very close to the word “merde” (go-ahead, google it). But the car was the exact opposite of that.
Its boxy-shape with not a curved line in its bodywork was somehow appreciated by the market. In the mid-’80s, Toyota had a wide range of sports or sporty cars and the MR2 was the entry-level. Its pop-up headlights, a small cabin, and a short deck made it attractive for the market. Since it was very light, it was nimble and very fuel-efficient. The small engine featured a fuel-injection system, which led to good power output.
Inside, there was room for two passengers, as the name promised, and nothing more. Behind the seats there was nothing, but at least the roof featured a removable glass panel. The low-mounted dashboard with a small instrument cluster was designed into a minimalist style.
The most common engine was the 1.6-liter unit carried-over from the Corolla. It featured electronic fuel injection supplied by Denso and a variable intake camshaft. It was mated as standard to a 5-speed manual, but a 4-speed automatic was on the options list.