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The Toyota MR2 has become an iconic sports car from the ’80s and ’90s, and it’s still beloved today. Despite the affordably fun model’s retirement in the mid-2000s, the MR2 might soon make a comeback. But until then, fans can zip around in the fastest MR2 model available: the Mk2 Turbo. 

A brief history of the Toyota MR2

A 1992 Toyota MR2 at the National Motor Museum
1992 Toyota MR2 | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The MR2 entered production in 1985, and Toyota continued producing it for 20 years. Its name was simple: “MR2” stood for “Midship Rear-drive 2-seater.” The moniker also described what the MR2 was supposed to be, a mid-engine sports car with rear-wheel drive and two seats. 

It was a small, reliable, affordable car, starting at about $11,000 new. Despite its size and price, it was a worthy sports car for the time. Toyota ultimately made three generations: Mk1, Mk2, and Mk3, MotorTrend reports. The automaker refers to those generations as W10 (made from 1984 to 1989), W20 (1990 to 1999), and W30 (2000 to 2007).

Although this zippy little car had plenty going for it, the MR2 wasn’t the biggest seller. Toyota sold fewer than 300,000 units in the model’s 20 years of production. The automaker discontinued the car stateside in 2005 and worldwide in 2007. But although the MR2 is dead, enthusiasts can still get their hands on the fastest version of the car: the Mk2 Turbo.

How fast is the Mk2 Toyota MR2 Turbo?

The standard Mk2 had a 130-hp, 2.2-liter inline-four engine from the Toyota Camry. However, buyers could opt for a much more powerful engine, a 2.0-liter turbo, according to MotorTrend.

Rather than using the Camry’s motor, the Mk2 Turbo packed a turbocharged engine approved for racing. It produced 200 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque, making this MR2 the fastest version available. Equipped with that engine, the Mk2 Turbo could zoom from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. In comparison, the regular 2.2-liter engine could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.0 seconds.

The Mk2 Turbo was also faster than other MR2s in top speed. It could reach 142 mph, while other MR2 models could hit about 120 to 130 mph. Models sold in Japan harnessed over 240 hp, but they couldn’t pass U.S. emissions tests, so they never set tires on American soil.

The future of this classic sports car

Though the Toyota MR2 wasn’t a sales hit in its final days, that hasn’t stopped the car from becoming a classic. Nicknamed “Mister Two,” it continues to be a fun, affordable option for sports car enthusiasts. So it’s not surprising rumors have swirled that Toyota plans to revive the MR2 15 years after its death.

So far, the rumblings are just rumors, but there’s been talk of a revived MR2 in 2024. It’s also possible Toyota will get some help from a German automaker to build the brand-new MR2. And though the classic Mister Two had a regular gas-powered engine, it’s rumored that the redux will embrace green tech by packing a hybrid powertrain.

But because those are all rumors, things can change. However, if Toyota is indeed planning a new MR2, it will undoubtedly thrill fans in a few years.


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