Toyota GR Yaris Platform to Underpin Affordable Mid-Engined Sports Car: Report

There’s hope for a Toyota MR2 revival after all.

byJames Gilboy|
Toyota performance EV concept

Toyota is reportedly developing a small, mid-engined sports car that could be cheaper than the 2022 Toyota GR86.

Citing Best Car (an often reliable Japanese magazine) Forbes reported this week that Toyota, its subsidiary Daihatsu, and ally Suzuki are teaming up to build a mid-engined sports car. It'll reportedly be based on Toyota's GA-B platform (used in the GR Yaris), and powered by a 998-cc turbo three-cylinder from Suzuki. Rather than the 109 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque it makes in the Suzuki Swift, the engine is reportedly expected to make about 150 horsepower. From there, it'll apparently travel to the rear wheels through a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission. The car may arrive in 2025 with a price in the mid-$20,000s.

1990 Toyota MR2 [SW20]

This development expands on a collaborative sports car rumor that circulated last December, albeit with details on the platform, pricing, and arrival timing missing. It fits a recent pattern of Toyota splitting the development of new models with other makes: Toyota worked with BMW on the GR Supra, and Subaru on the BZ4X and GR86.

However, the rumor doesn't fit perfectly with Toyota's known plans for its sports car lineup. In 2019, the Supra's program lead said there isn't room below the GR86 in Toyota's "Three Brothers" sports car lineup. Since then, Toyota has muddied the waters on whether a third member (like a rebooted Celica or MR2) is actually coming, or is already here in the form of the GR Yaris or GR Corolla—Toyota declined to tell us earlier this year whether either completes the trinity.

On top of that, the business case for a cheap, mid-engined sports car has only gotten worse since then. If there is any mid-engined driving experience on the way, it's likely coming in the form of that larger, pricier electric sports car concept. And even if these rumors of a smaller option pan out, there's still no guarantee the model will make it stateside.

For now, it seems all we can do is cross our fingers that the mid-engined Toyota will return one day. If you have a direct line to Akio Toyoda, now would be the time to make that call.

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