• Nov 26, 2009

Tell us if this sounds familiar: Hybrids will kill the driver-oriented sportscar. It's the line taken by no small share of enthusiasts, and some of them are among us here at Autoblog. But the skeptics were silenced – or temporarily hushed, at least – when Honda took the wraps off of its CR-Z coup concept. After all, anything that could bring back the CRX hatchback with added oomph at no extra cost at the fuel pumps has to sound good to anyone's ears, right? But you didn't think Toyota would let Honda have the fun all to itself now, did you?

It's far from official, but reports out of Japan suggest that Toyota may be working on a reborn hybrid sportscar of its own. The company once known for its sports-coupes recently unveiled the FT-86 concept, and could be set to follow up with a gasoline-electric resurrection of the cult classic MR2. The budget-friendly mid-engine/rear-drive sportscar had a big following who led the legions of the disappointed when the third-generation model was discontinued two years ago. But if the latest reports are to be believed, Mr. Two could be back – in hybrid form.

Details are scarce, but according to Japan's Best Car, we're looking at a two-seat two-door coupe with a gasoline engine mounted amidships behind the cabin, coupled to an electric motor in a more performance-oriented version of the Toyota Synergy Drive popularized by the Prius. Reports suggest it could adopt the MR-S nameplate, which is what the last MR2 was known as in Japan, so there's just as good a chance that it could wear the MR2 nameplate on this side of the Pacific. That's about all we've got for now, but if we all (Toyota included) play our cards just right, Japan's beloved budget mid-engined car could be coming back...with a charge.

[Source: Best Car via CarScoop]


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  • 54 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Open my browser go to autoblog and thats the first thing i see. Talk about ruining my day.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bring_back_our_Supra_!
        matthew
        • 5 Years Ago
        Indeed, Toyota needs to make the Supra again, make it in Japan, make it beautiful, offer it in colors other than 50 shades of silver, and NOT make it a silly hybrid.

        The FT86 with a 4 cylinder engine doesn't stir my passions, but a Supra with the 2GR-FSE or the 2UR-GSE certainly would.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not sure where all the grumpiness is coming from. Aside from the Miata (excellent but fatter now), it's not like you've been able to buy a small, lightweight, affordable RWD roadsters of *any* drive system for the last half-decade. Hybrid or not, I'm all for their return.

      I'm also intrigued by the potential of electric motors provide to fill in the missing parts of these cars' powerbands. Take a 1.8-liter 2ZZ Four and bolt it in an MR2, and you've got a screaming top end, and virtually nothing else. Add an electric motor, and you've got strong, silent V8 oomph off the line. Overlap them in the midrange, and that's a match made in heaven.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's coming from an astro-turf campaign to stop Hybrid and Electric vehicles and Protect the GAS MONOPOLY.

        By the way, Clarkson has been EXPOSED as a FRONT by BP.
      • 5 Years Ago
      YES!! Ford and Government Motors must be crapping their pants about this.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Why would they? It's not like the previous MR2s sold in anything close to decent numbers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ooops didn't mean to post twice.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yea I doubt it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So you're comparing the MR2, which sold a total of 33311 of the 2nd generation and 23,868 of the 3rd generation in the U.S. to the Taurus and Flex which have sold 33,692 and 32,058, respectively, so far this year? Yeah, way to make your point.

        (I won't even bother discussing the Lincoln/Mercury products, because honestly, I don't think Ford is even trying to make those brands a success.)
      • 5 Years Ago
      If you're going to go with a "green" sports car jut make it run on E85 or something.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Was your comment funded by Archer Danials Midland?

        Only Electric is Green.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Green cars in general are a gimmick. At least with an E85 based car it's going to run with higher HP and not have a big heavy and expensive electric system thrown in.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hey Mike, was your comment funded by the Virginia coal industry?
      • 5 Years Ago
      worst looking porsche boxter copycat
      • 5 Years Ago
      Do it Toyota!
      • 5 Years Ago
      This whole hybrid thing is asinine. They had full electrics getting 90 miles/charge 20 years ago, and allegedly the best they can do now is 65mpg(occasionally) on a frankenstein? Buncha' suckers. I know, give it 450hp and call it a "Eco-power" or "Green-hybrid McTreehug" and moron yuppies will delude themselves into believing they've "helped the Earth". Whatever that even means. I think recent revelations have signaled the beginning of the end of this religion, time to dump Toyota stock.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Argh! My comment disappeared!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Considering that this is how rumors about the FT86 started, color me cautiously-optimistic.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe they could look into using double wishbone suspension with this version. Doubtful, but I think that's the only thing that the MR2 was lacking.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ya right, I've been reading these MR2/Supra rebirth stories since before the economy tanked.
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