18 January 2010

Return of the MR2?

Toyota’s official tuning arm, Gazoo Racing, creates a 400bhp hybrid MR2. But will it reach production?

This is the MR2 Sports Hybrid Concept from Toyota’s almost-totally-official tuning outfit, Gazoo Racing.

We’d love to tell you that this means we’ll definitely see a new production Toyota MR2, but that might be going a bit far. However, it does mean that Toyota is at least thinking about a new MR2, which is a start.

Gazoo Racing is Toyota’s community website in Japan, and also operates as a race team: last year, it took the Lexus LF-A to the Nurburgring 24-hour race, with Akio Toyoda (Toyota’s CEO) and Hiromu Naruse (Toyota’s chief tester) on driving duties.

Which means we should pay attention when Gazoo creates a concept. Especially when it’s a reworked last-gen MR2 with a 3.3-litre V6 driving the rear wheels and an electric motor powering the front wheels.

So yeah, it’s a hybrid, but an interesting one: Gazoo pegs the MR2’s output at around 400bhp. With a kerbweight of 1300kg – a couple of hundred kilos heavier than the last-gen MR2 thanks to the hybrid’s batteries, but still light by current standards – it should be pretty rapid. We haven’t seen any performance figures yet, but you’re likely looking at a car that can show a Cayman S a clean pair of heels.

The only slight disappointment is that it gets a CVT rather than a proper manual ‘box, but we’ll let that one slide.

Have a look at the video below and let us know what you think. Want to see a new MR2 in production? And if so, can you cope with it being hybrid powered?

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