Currently reading: New Toyota GR sports car could be electric MR2 successor
Radical two-seat concept provides first glimpse of what could become a rival to Lotus's 2026 sports EV

Toyota is developing a small, two-seat electric sports car that could be the first bespoke EV from its Gazoo Racing performance brand. 

Shown alongside 14 other Toyota and Lexus concepts as company president Akio Toyoda revealed 15 of a planned 30 new EVs from the brands by 2030, the unnamed coupé appears similar in size to Toyota's MR2 sports car, which bowed out in 2007.

In 2018, Autocar reported that Toyota was considering a revival of the MR2 following the launch of the GR Supra and an electric powertrain was on the cards. 

At that time, sales and marketing boss Matt Harrison said the firm was at the "discussion stage" with plans for a reborn MR2 and confirmed that it was an attractive proposition to company bosses.

Toyoda is a well-known sports car enthusiast and has previously spoken of his desire to one day see the 'three brothers' – the Supra, Celica and MR2 – revived for the modern era. With the Supra now three years old and the GR86 effectively serving as a Celica equivalent, the focus has likely shifted to the development of a second bespoke GR model.

The first clues to a reborn MR2 were given in 2015 by the diminutive S-FR concept, which didn't evolve into a production model. This latest concept looks to be slightly larger and features much more aggressive styling cues unlike anything seen on a production Toyota so far.

Most intriguingly, its cab-forward silhouette hints at a revival of the MR2's characteristic mid-engined format, which could mean Toyota is planning a similar stacked-battery arrangement to that of Porsche and Lotus's upcoming electric sports cars

This would help the sports car to retain some of its spiritual predecessor's trademark dynamic balance, despite the added weight of an EV powertrain. It also would mean the driver could sit as close to the ground as in the MR2, which wouldn't be possible with an underfloor battery pack.

Whether Toyota's e-TNGA EV platform, as used by the bZ4X SUV, could accommodate such a layout is unconfirmed. So far, that platform has only been deployed in four- and front-wheel-drive formats, and Toyota would no doubt opt for a rear-driven layout in an entry-level electric sports car.

Toyota has hinted that its entry-level EVs will prioritise affordability over long range, which - together with the need to keep weight down - means the sports car could be among the first of Toyota's EVs to receive a more energy-dense solid state battery.

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Lexus has hinted at a similar plan for a new electric supercar it is readying as a spiritual successor to the V10-engined LFA. 

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gavsmit 14 December 2021

I'm all over this car but I'm not sure how it can be a replacement for the MR2 when that car was relatively affordable in 2007 but this one is no doubt going to cost BIG bucks.

I bought a Mazda MX5 brand new a few years ago and the car, dealership and Mazda UK were all terrible despite what I'd read. Fingers crossed this car happens and Toyota don't get too greedy with the price so I can finally get the reliable fun car my terrible MX-5 was supposed to be.

bol 14 December 2021

Yes please! I know this is all entirely speculative at the moment, but it's the EV that car enthusiasts need. It illustrates how short sighted Mazda are being with the MX-5 NE. If Toyota could do this for £40-50k it would sell like hot cakes.