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Toyota FT-Se Planned to Launch 2026 or Later as Porsche 718 EV Rival

The sports car's designer confirmed Toyota's plans for the MR2 spiritual successor at the Japan Mobility Show.
Toyota

The Toyota FT-Se concept looked at first like another chapter in the long, sad story of the MR2 successor that’ll never be. But now, a Toyota official has apparently confirmed the FT-Se is meant for production, ending any waffling or speculation about another mid-engined (ish) Toyota once and for all.

The FT-Se’s production plans were confirmed to Inside EVs on the floor of the Japan Mobility Show, where the concept was revealed this week. Curiously, their firsthand report of the concept indicates it’s much more complete than Toyota’s many other EV proposals present at the event. That’s because Hideaki Iidi, project manager for GR Design Group and the FT-Se’s father, confirmed the concept will enter production after the Lexus LF-ZC sedan, with which it shares its battery.

“We’re going to release the Lexus model in 2026 and this one afterward,” Iida told the outlet. “We can’t guarantee the year itself, but as soon as possible. After 2026 is what I can tell you.”

The Lexus LF-ZC EV sedan concept, which is also slated for production in the coming years. Lexus

Iida reportedly pointed to the production model competing with Porsche’s electric 718 sequel, which could debut next year, and at a lower weight than performance EVs so far. The FT-Se’s weight, power, and price weren’t discussed, but other Toyota officials at the show reportedly suggested the car will use Toyota’s simulated manual transmission for EVs. That feature has been teased for 2026 or so like the FT-Se, along with Toyota’s previously confirmed electric sports car. It’s all finally coming together, and with as much as 550 horsepower if period rumors are to be believed.

All this may have you thinking the FT-Se will be an inauthentic followup to the MR2—it’s expensive, electric, and it may get smushed like the FT-1 concept did when it was turned into the GR Supra. But Iida emphasized the FT-Se isn’t supposed to be a part of the MR2’s (or Supra’s) lineage, stating, “this is a brand-new design language to show this is a new brand… not traditional.”

If you want to see the FT-Se as a fourth-gen MR2 anyway, an E-W40, you still can. It has the small footprint, short wheelbase, and high-bubbled roof characteristic of the AW11 and SW20. Plus, I as The Drive‘s resident MR2 owner have already proposed a way Toyota could execute such a car without offending MR2 owners. (They’ll probably be angry anyway, but they can’t afford an FT-Se, so their dollars won’t vote.)

Design sketch of the Toyota FT-Se concept, by Hideaki Iida. Toyota

I accepted long ago that the MR2 is dead and never returning; the economy and car market just wouldn’t support it. But I’ll welcome the FT-Se with open arms—though it may be a side hug until Toyota’s fake manual proves itself a worthwhile innovation and not a shallow gimmick.

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