• Jan 15, 2010
Toyota MR2 Sports Hybrid Concept – Click above for image gallery

Back in November, the rumormill was set ablaze when reports began to surface that Toyota was working on a new MR2 packing hybrid power. Today, those rumors have been laid to rest... kinda.

In addition to the G Sport Series FT-86 and Prius, Toyota trotted out a concept at the Tokyo Auto Salon based on the third generation MR-S (ZZW30). Although the MR2 was nixed in the U.S. in 2005 (and in Japan in 2007), Toyota and its partners at Gazoo saw fit to resurrect its midship drop-top by fitting a 3.3-liter V6 where the old 1.8-liter four-cylinder used to reside and an electric motor mated to a THSII hybrid system up front. That's right, the MR2 Sports Hybrid Concept is all-wheel drive, and between the two mills, it's churning out over 400 horsepower through a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

But despite its boosted output, the 2,800-pound concept is a bit on the porky side compared to its 2,200-pound predecessor. Toyota claims it can run to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds – still better than the stock ZZW30, but at what a cost to the MR2's supreme chuckability? While there's no chance of Toyota putting the MR2 Sports Hybrid Concept into production, this could point the way for things to come – for better or worse. Make the jump for a promo video.



[Source: Gazzo via Carscoop]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 48 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Do any of you guys even own an MR-S? I have one, and its a great car. Looks are subjective, so there is no point arguing. I actually dont think its much of a looker, but every single day I get comments from strangers of all age groups who love it. No one says a word about my GTI, but one drive in the Spyder and I feel like a star. Miatas are great too, I almost got one of those instead, but they are literally everywhere. The Spyder is unique, they only imported about 15,000 of them to the US and I like having something original and rare. There is room behind the seats for a couple of duffle bags... decent for a weekend road trip. A quick grocery trip works fine, throw the bags behind the seats or on the passenger floorboard. The convertible top is almost as easy to use as a Miata. The car gets insanely good gas mileage, better than a Miata. Its no rocket but its got adequate power, its extremely light (about 2100 lbs), and reliability is bulletproof as long as you replace the header to get rid of the pre-cats. Its very easy to work on, its simple, just a big go-kart for the street. Very few cars have that feel, especially at the price I paid.

      Would I rather have a Boxster? No way. Impossible to work on, expensive to fix or replace anything, and I think the ones older than 2005 are just ugly. Plus I got my Spyder for about $7000. Do you have any idea what kind of basketcase Boxster you would get for that kind of money? And even if my engine blew up tomorrow, I could get a 2ZZ from a Celica GTS along with a 6-speed tranny and swap it in myself for about $3k. I cant even upgrade the wheels and tires on a Boxster for that much. My 15-inch rims are small, but thats because the car is small and light... and tires for my car cost me about $350 for the set because of it. Try $700+ for the same tires on the GTI. Its a very cheap car to own and nothing else thats mid-engined can come close.

      The Miata is its only real competitor. And its completely pointless to argue about which is better. Both of them are great cars with the same mission in life. There are Miata fans and there are Spyder fans. Performance is pretty close to the same, you can mod the hell out of either one and create something crazy. Who cares??? There is nothing distinctly wrong with either one... whats wrong with appreciating both?.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I know, plus pretty much every Miata I see is driven by people in thier 50s! It just seems to appeal to older people. Younger people go bonkers over the Spyder even when they dont know what it is. Not to mention, comparing an WRX to an MR-S or even a Miata doesnt make any sense. Completely different cars. Thats what I hate about the forums, there is always guys that have to bring up some completely pointless competition. I like all kinds of cars, I dont hate on one vs. the other.
        JDM Life
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tell that to BOXER.



        The MR-S is a awesome car and rare. They look better then Miata IMO and when i see them i stare...i see Miata everyday....dont really pay any attention to them any more.
      Red-Barchetta
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have the second generation MR2 turbo with t-tops, the one that looks similar to a Ferrari 328 or 428, only in mini form. It was manufactured from 1991-1999. I think this is the best looking Toyota sports car ever made to date. Rear mid-engine, rear wheel drive, 200HP stock from the 4C, fast, 2 seater. Super reliable engine, decent MPG, fun to drive, still gets looks, and thumbs up. It has classic, clean lines, in the popular wedge shape design. Its a design that will never go out of style, and getting harder to find in good condition. I think the designs today with hard, exaggerated angles, wide, open-mouth front grills or the overdone, flowing curves are ugly. They either look too mechanical or too feminine. The classic, clean lines are much better looking.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sorry if this shows up as a double post, but the post seems to have been lost...

      @spacecowboy, JDM-sycophant, and others...

      My point was that my 17 year old SVX with 230 horsepower STOCK, and AWD is a better ROAD car in the real world, on a wet or slick road, in less than sunny weather. NOT on the track, because I don't go to the track.

      My 300hp tuned Turbo Legacy is quicker and faster, and also AWD. And much nicer inside than that dimpled plastic MR-Spyder's interior. who's idea was that?

      Most people don't go to the track. Most people with MR spyders don't go to the track. less than 10% of road cars sold ever see a moment's time on a race track surface, in their mechanical useful lives.

      An MR-Spyder, stock, is not that quick of a car, even in the dry, let alone skirting the limits of throttle oversteer, and front-end un-weighted understeer in the wet or slick, on it's little 15" tires.

      It is a good handling little car. I don't think it is that good looking, myself, but how can you have a "Midship Runabout" without the ability to runabout to bring things back home? It is hard to justify a road car that can only go out and back, without any parcels whatsoever, if anyone sits in the passenger seat. Impractical is one thing. Impossible is another.

      And any mod you can make to an MR-spyder, given a similar mod on my Miata. The Miata will be at least on-par as a track car. Spec Miata modifications are far more common, and have been explored and developed far more than mods for the MR-Spyder.

      And frankly what an MR-S does... a used Elise or Exige does better, to the point of being more worth the extra money. And that comes with Lotus suspension tuning.

      IF MR-Spyder was made to be a factory track car, then the engine would have been their best, from the Celica GT-S, and the wheels and tires would have been more suited to that task... MR-S was a bit conflicted. Not as focuses as a race car, not practical enough to be anything else.

      Again, I don't live on a race track. I drive on real roads, and use cars for normal tasks, rain, shine, snow, fog, whatever, which is why there are two AWD cars in my snow-bound driveway, as well.

      I would, have, and likely will continue to consider a t-top SW20 Turbocharged MR2 as a nice fun road sports car. but the MR-Spyder was left wanting in real world use, and in stock power. The Celica was a more appropriate road car than MR-S, but unfortunately FWD. FT-86 will likely remedy that FWD part.

      But now, with this article, heavier than necessary hybrid, with a CVT, and ugly bodywork does not impress me.

      And yes, I do know about the Alessandro Volta. It is an ItalDesign design, and very good looking. But there is no assertion that this is a mule for such a car, and I still don't want a CVT, or a complex redunant powertrain, or a sports car full of lithium batteries, for a number of reasons.

      Toyota needs to pull off the FT-86 project really well. They could resurrect the MR2 properly, but I doubt they will. They could also release an IS-chassis based Supra in the 30-50K segment somewhere... to compete with the likes of 350Z or G37, and such... but again, no seeming interest.

      That is Toyota's choice. Why aren't you toyota touters begging and pleading for these performance cars? LF-A is a drop in an expensive bucket, and don't make a difference to real people on real budgets. Toyota has yet to put an affordable performance car on a showroom floor. We haven't even yet seen the production FT-86 car, just a concept, and a one-off tuner car in a japanese show.

      I am a Subaru fan, but I have been very critical of them, and I continue to clamor for what I think they should be building, and want to buy from them. Some of you toyota guys are completely un-objectively glorifying Toyota, based purely on some sort of emotional basis.

      VW will likely beat Toyota to the punch with the production version of whatever they call the BlueSport concept, and the Audi R4. Again... Toyota's choice to not offer a 4th generation of the MR2 in any guise.

      Like most japanese companies, Subaru included, they seem to think that mistakes mean failure and failure is to be abandoned, rather than evaluation and refinement of products over successive generations, properly fixing what needs to be fixed, and making products BETTER.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "I am a Subaru fan, but I have been very critical of them, and I continue to clamor for what I think they should be building, and want to buy from them. Some of you toyota guys are completely un-objectively glorifying Toyota, based purely on some sort of emotional basis."

      Boxer: Shouldn't you though? I mean, I believe the reason why I love a certain car is based purely on un-objective, personal reasons which usually come from emotions I feel when driving it. Kind of seems like an attack on Toyota enthusiasts when you single them out like that. Subaru owners are just the same way, especially Miata owners. I don't think it's a bad thing.

      BTW, Nothing we say to Toyota will ever get them to change their mind to revive some of their old sports cars. I mean, they won't even bring back the Supra and just look at how many people adore those cars. Supra, Celica and MR2, these 3 are were foundation for Toyota's sports cars and all are gone. Seems like a very conscious business decision if you ask me. Like you said, we'll see how the FT-86 goes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota MR-S.. it sucks it was never that popular.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @BoxerFanatic

        It seems to me that this concept is much closer to SW20 then the third-gen MR2 (ZZW30). It also weighs the same as well, the SW20 weighed almost 2,800lbs. It wasn't nearly as light weight as the ZZW30s, but it had more power.

        This concept is a dramatic step ahead in terms of power and isn't that much heavier then a SW20. Its insane to think you could fit a 400hp V6 hybrid and an AWD system in a 2,866 lb package (even the base 987 Boxster is closer to 3,100lbs).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Except that it is not like the SW20 in two important ways.

        It isn't good looking in the least. The SW20 looked like a little Ferrari, and looked GOOD.

        It is less accommodating than the ZZW30, which had very little (cubic inches, not cubic feet) under the front hood, and no rear trunk at all... and barely a glove-box in an ugly, hard, dimpled interior.

        The SW20 had a more generous front trunk, as well as a rear trunk, roughly as large as the Miata.

        SW20 could hold a load of groceries on the way home from work. SW20 could hold a suitcase or two for the weekend trip to the relatives. A miata will as well. A ZZW30 will not.

        One with a hybrid drive and hundreds of pounds of batteries will undoubtedly hold even less.

        One with a CVT won't even be as fun to drive.

        Depending on the location of the batteries and motors... the rearward mid-engined balance won't be the same, either.

        And BTW... The 2009 base boxster...
        2943 lbs. curb weight.
        9.9 cubic feet of luggage space
        255 stock horsepower.
        S model adds 55 more horsepower and only 36 lbs.
        Spyder will cut ~180lbs, and ten more horsepower yet.
        And that is with more airbags, larger wheels and tires, and porsche build quality.

        Thanks, but I think I'll take a Porsche over this hybrid hacked-together monstrosity.

        Or a nice little SW20 project car... and JDM-life, get this... I'D PUT A SUBARU BOXER TURBO IN IT. :D There has to be a way to put a longitudinal gearbox under the rear trunk floor, and the boxer will fit between the chassis rails in the engine bay. I've researched it. ;D Easier to get 340+ hp out of an EJ257 than an 3jz-GTE, and the longitudinal layout is superior for suspension and axle angles.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ JDM life:

        I know very well that this car was popular among tuners, you don't need to tell me that. You said that you don't see them everywhere so you're contradicting yourself when you say that it was popular. What I meant that it was not that popular on the roads, for example, you're more likely to see 2nd gen MR-2s more than the 3rd generation.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ BoxerFanatic

        First off, this car is obviously a test-mule (it has bits and pieces stolen from other Toyotas). The internals are essentially the same as the beautiful Toyota Volta concept designed by Giugiaro. When the final car is released don't expect it to look like an MR2.

        Volta Concept in case you forgot:
        http://www.supercars.net/cars/2932.html

        Also, the SW20 has always been considered a porker. Even the base SW20 weighed 2,700lbs and that only had 130hp, and the 180hp G-limited could weigh more then 2,800lbs. Given the weight of the SW20 the non-turbo versions where slow. This concept has twice/thrice the power of the SW20s with around the same weight.

        Let's also keep in mind, the S2000 is also around 2,800 lbs. The Cayman and Boxster weigh around 3,000-3,100 depending on if its in S guise. Even the totally stripped down Boxster Spyder without a real roof is 2,800lbs. The current Audi TTS is around 3264 lbs. The BMW Z4 ranges from 3,240lbs-3,500lbs.

        None of those cars come even close to 400hp.

        By no means is 2,800 lbs considered heavy. Considering its a hybrid and a 4WD, this car is insanely light-weight. Even with 300hp his car would have a great power-to-weight ratio.
      • 5 Years Ago
      you've got to be kidding me.

      Ugly as sin.

      Even LESS practical than the already unaccomidating MR-Spyder.

      Heavy as hell.

      I don't care if it has a gazillion horsepower, the added weight and complexity RUINS the package, not to mention what meager looks the car had.

      This has been my argument against hybrids anyway, especially so-called "performance hybrids."

      too many compromises and too much complication on what should be a very simple, very focused package. It ends up being aimless, complex, and not that effective, regardless of torque.
        JDM Life
        • 5 Years Ago
        ""And my modded 2005 Subaru, AND my 17 year old stock Subaru would embarrass any MR2 in any kind of inclement weather, and be far more comfortable, and faster while doing it. I don't commute or travel on race tracks."


        ummm not it wont. Period.



        The MR-S is a great car period. Nothing you can say will change that.
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 5 Years Ago
        I really hope that this isn't a testbed for a hybrid powertrain for the next Supra or something. I doubt that it is, since the 3.3L V6 was used in the "400h" cars, which have been replaced by "450h". I want to get a Supra, but only if it's got an inline 6 in it. It doesn't even need to be turbocharged or have tons of horspower. I just want a straight six in a light car!

        I agree to your sentiment about the whole "performance hybrid" thing. The fuel economy on the Lexus hybrids is terrible, and between the price premium/battery toxicity/compromise in handling because of added weight, they just don't make sense.

        The FT86 is definitely a step in the right direction, to replace the Celica. In fact, it's better because its actually RWD and should be fairly lightweight.

        The next thing from Toyota ought to be a straight six powered Supra with a CFRP skin, minimalist but quality interior, no hybrid drive in sight. Price it under the IS-F and I'll be able to actually get one! LOL
        • 5 Years Ago
        But not my Miata, given similar mods. and mods are much more common for Miatas.

        BTW... if you had paid enough attention to read my comments, I am a fan of the SW20 MR2. That isn't very "hater" of me.

        I just don't like the abomination in this article, which ruins whatever merit the MR-Spyder had.

        And I have personally test driven and thoroughly considered the MR-Spyder, and it was found wanting in nearly every way.

        And my modded 2005 Subaru, AND my 17 year old stock Subaru would embarrass any MR2 in any kind of inclement weather, and be far more comfortable, and faster while doing it. I don't commute or travel on race tracks.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So much to comment on.

      O.K. First: JDM: You MUST STOP SKIMMING BOXER'S COMMENTS if you expect to have an intelligent discussion. His opinion is that the ZZ MR-S is not very pretty. It is a difference of opinion that you should respect.

      Second. Boxer: Whether you like this car, churched up with a body kit and graphics should not dissuade you from seeing the actual vehicle behind it. It's pretty. It's prettier than a Porsche, and would cost much much less. Someone is making power out of hybrids instead of simply gas economy. We shouldn't badmouth that. AND, 2800 lbs is still lighter than ANY Subaru currently available.

      Bringing me to this very important point about the MR-S. I love it.

      The MR-S, in its time, was the cheapest and most widely available car in the U.S.A. to offer:

      LIGHTNESS. It was selling before Lotus brought the Elise and Exige to The States. Lightness is king in the performance world. It can trump power output.

      SEQUENTIAL TRANSMISSION. While we've gone the way of the dual clutch, please name me one car, under $40k, in the last 10 years that you could get with a sequential? That's pimp. Yes, I know it wasn't a race grade gearbox with dog tooth gears, but it's a sequential nonetheless.

      MR. Again, for its time, it was the cheapest, most easily accessible MR vehicle in the states. You had to jump to Boxter and NSX territory to get another MR car with such poise. Don't argue S2000's with me. I know, I know, the engine is behind the axles, making its layout something of a F-MR.

      To the point that the MR-S can or can't be tuned. One shop immediately comes to mind. Techno Pro Spirit. They are beasts. The car they tuned, MODESTLY at 190PS, was a touge killer. Best motoring's touge track, search youtube...there's a race between a 350PS S15 and a race grade MR-S with 190PS. It's a great race.

      And that race covers a couple key points, first in my mind that Lightness can trump big horsepower. It also proves that the car's chassis can handle more power. I'd be curious how much chassis reinforcement these guys made to accommodate the extra weight and power output.

      @Cowboy: Boxer was talking about driving in inclement weather. Unless you have proper tires, and Initial D grade throttle control, it'd be much easier to drive a AWD car vs a MR car in the snow / rain.

      Great forum today, guys.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Here's where I stopped reading your post: "It's pretty. It's prettier than a Porsche..."
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, I left that comment wide open.

        I should have said it's the ugliest MR2 / MRS, but I find it prettier than some Porches.
        Unable to edit the post, though. Agreed..
      • 5 Years Ago
      The 370Z Roadster w/ Automatic is the "porky" one: the Z's Curb Weight ranges from 3,449 - 3,489lbs for the Touring Edition... the Concept's 2,800lbs w/ 400hp sounds good to me... now, if they could squeeze it into my Original '86 MR2, that had greater packaging (2 actual trunks)... I don't need the convertible (sunburn my bald head).
      invisiblepigeon3
      • 5 Years Ago
      Interesting, but I'd rather see Hiromu Naruse driving a new Supra than this.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "And my modded 2005 Subaru, AND my 17 year old stock Subaru would embarrass any MR2 in any kind of inclement weather, and be far more comfortable, and faster while doing it. I don't commute or travel on race tracks."

      Umm sorry, but my 19 year MR2 turbo and its slightly modified 22 year little brother(AW11) would definitely embarrass whatever 17 year old Subaru you speak of. And just because a stock MR-S may not appeal to you engine and styling wise, a well tuned, "modded" MR-S is a very legit track car and I'm pretty confident, could hold its own against most "modded" Subaru's. Granted, I don't know what you've done to your car.

      As far as I can tell, most people hate the MR-S because of its looks. Lets face it, it doesn't compare to the SW20. I love MR2's but even I can admit that while Toyota started off with a good idea when they created the MR-S, the final consumer package was lackluster. It should have gotten the peppier 2ZZ, optional hard top and more cargo space to name a few. But don't write it off as a FAIL. Its a great little car and in actuality was probably closer to the original MR2 mantra then the SW20 was.

      Why can't Toyota just make another great looking MR2 that continues the style of the SW20, make it affordable, with a decent engine and handle great. Address all the things people didn't like about the ZZW30 and move forward. None of this hybrid stuff. I'm willing to guess they would sell pretty damn well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Granted, I don't know what you've done to your car."

        Cowboy, on this, I can't argue with you one bit...

        I guess you also don't know what the term "inclement weather" means?
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is directed at BoxerFanatic,

        The SVX will not out perform an MR2 in all weather conditions. One of my first cars was an SVX. The car was heavy, underpowered and really not that fast. It can barely hold it's on against N/A 300zx, MR-2's, N/A Supra...So on.

        Even in bad weather I still find myself having plenty of traction in my MR-2 or 300ZX. I'd argue the Impreza 2.5 RS or WRX line are quite competent with proper tires in all weather. Hate to bust your balls man, but AWD don't mean **** in bad weather without good tires. Again my MR-2 feels fine in snow with good all seasons and even better with snow tires. The SVX was never intended to be a track vehicle, and it's a sub-par luxury coupe. That's why it's sales where slow and short lived. Coupled with an at the time outrageous asking price for a Subaru, the car was just simply out classed by most sports coupes of the 90's.

        The MR-S's styling is really my only dislike. Not bad for engine choice, but you can swap in a HUGE selection of v6's into any model MR-2 and for the MK I even V8's are done. The MR-2 Has huge potential and a lot of swappable options to make it a real budget supercar.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The idea is cool to see. I would love to see a successor to the 90-95 MR2 with say 320 hp, rear-wheel-drive (maybe AWD).

      The third gen. MR2 Spyder (this car) never was so hot. Bug-eyed looks and subpar performance.

      I can't wait to finally start seeing actual production sports cars available for me to purchase again from Toyota/Lexus.

      I'll be first in line for an all new Lexus SC with a more powerful V8 and more luxury. Hopefully we see the next gen. SC sometime later this year.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I always liked these cars. I'd bet it'd be a challenge to work on a V6 in the vehicle, thought!
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