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The latest generation Toyota MR2 is a no-compromise roadster designed to excite true sports car enthusiasts. It is fun to drive, good to look at and affordable to own.
- True two-seat sports roadster
- Mid-engined, rear wheel drive for maximum driving enjoyment
- Lightweight and powerful 1.8-litre 16v VVT-i engine
- Best power to weight ratio in its class
- Sparkling performance, low fuel consumption
The latest generation Toyota MR2 is a no-compromise roadster designed to excite true sports car enthusiasts. It is fun to drive, good to look at and affordable to own. Like all the best roadsters, the new Toyota MR2 combines traditional sports characteristics with modern engineering. It draws on the legend of two highly successful previous generations of MR2 to create a new, modern style for the 21st century. For the first time in its 14 year history, the MR2 is now a full soft top roadster with manual folding fabric roof.
The new Toyota MR2 retains its mid-engined, rear wheel drive format for precise handling, with excellent stability and balance. But it is also lightweight - Toyota engineers have used the very latest technology to cut weight and boost performance. The MR2’s 1.8-litre 16v engine has Variable Valve Timing-intelligence (VVT-i) for maximum mid-range torque and superb top-end power, with the best fuel consumption in its class.
The MR2 is a sports car with striking looks. The basic characteristics are its long wheelbase, short overhangs and strong horizontal line, accentuated by the dramatic air scoop for the engine. The body is short (3885mm) relative to the wheelbase (2450mm), which increases responsiveness and the low centre of gravity. Wide track and long wheelbase also give it stability.
Interior & Equipment
The interior is comfortable but clearly sporting. The leather trimmed, three spoke sports steering wheel and bucket seats create the ideal driving environment. The dashboard is clean, simple and the race car instrumentation is clear to read.
But drivers will not find the MR2 Roadster lacking in convenience. Power steering, power windows and remote control central locking are among the items that will be offered as standard equipment. An engine immobiliser and, for the UK, double ‘deadlocking’ will help make the desirable MR2 highly thief proof.
Air conditioning and a factory developed, detachable hardtop will also be on the equipment list.
Safety has been a key consideration in the design of the new Toyota MR2. Thanks to its mid-ship engine layout, the MR2 Roadster shows the best weight distribution, together with its lightweight platform contributes to excellent braking performance. On top of that, disc brakes for positive, fade-free and rapid braking are standard front and rear.
Anti-lock braking, with electronic brake force distribution will be standard. So will driver and passenger airbags. The seat belts are pretensioned with force limiters to reduce the risk of chest injury in the event of an accident.
Engine & Performance
Purposeful, agile, technically advanced - the latest version of the Toyota MR2 is powered by a sophisticated 1.8-litre, 16v VVT-i engine developing 138bhp at 6,400rpm and maximum torque of 127lb.ft at 4,400rpm. Thanks to its low body weight (less than 1000 kg), the new MR2 Roadster is targeted to have the best power-to-weight ratio in its class and performance to match.
The Toyota MR2 Roadster will hit 62mph from rest in just 7.9 seconds and has a top speed, where allowed, of 130mph. The precise five-speed manual gearbox (later editions have a six-speed gearbox) has a slick, positive action to allow the driver to make the most of this exciting car’s performance.
Variable Valve Timing-intelligence (VVT-i) delivers power where it’s needed most - at high engine speeds and torque throughout the rev range, making the MR2 Roadster easy and relaxing to drive. But the power comes without a penalty in fuel consumption. On the combined EU cycle, the MR2 Roadster will return around 37mpg - the most fuel-efficient car in its class and with exhaust emissions reduced to match.
This version of the MR2 is also equipped with Toyota Direct Ignition - individual computer controlled coils acting directly onto the spark plugs which improve ignition timing, cut harmful emissions and reduce service costs. Toyota Direct Ignition means there is no distributor to be maintained and no ignition timing to be reset.
The suspension design calls upon Toyota’s long experience with mid-engined sports cars and has been developed to offer a firm, agile, but comfortable ride that keeps the car stable and true. The rear suspension is a new, dual link, strut design which has been engineered for stability and lightweight. The front suspension uses McPherson struts, optimised and re-engineered to suit the mid-engined, rear wheel drive weight balance and characteristics.
Stylish, 15-inch alloy wheels are standard equipment with 185/55R tyres at the front and 205/50R at the rear.
From 2003 onwards (facelift model) 16" rear wheels replace 15" wheels previously fitted. Rear tyre goes up to 215/45/16 to fit the new larger wheels. the front tyres remain the same.
Type - Inline mid mounted, 4cyls, rear drive
Valve mechanism - DOHC 16 valve VVT-i
Bore x stroke (cc) - 79.0 x 91.5
Displacement (cc) - 1794
Max power bhp (kW) - 138 (103) @ 6400rpm
Max torque lb.ft (Nm) - 127 (172) @ 4400rpm
0-62mph (0-100km/h) - 7.9 sec
0-400m - 1 5.8 sec
Maximum speed - 130mph (210km/h)
20-60km/h - 4.3 sec
40-80km/h - 5.l sec
60-100km/h - 6.l sec
80-120km/h - 10.6 sec
FUEL CONSUMPTION (L/l00km)
Combined - 7.6
Urban - 10.45
Extra-urban - 5.95
Coefficient of drag - 0.35
Overall length (mm) - 3885
Overall width (mm) - 1695
Overall height (mm) - 1240
Wheelbase (mm) - 2450
Track width (mm) front - 1480
Track width (film) rear - 1460
Minimum turning radius (in) - 4.9
Fuel tank capacity (litres) - 48
Kerb weight (kg) - 975
Front - MacPherson struts, anti-roll bar
Rear - Dual-Link MacPherson struts, anti-rb
Front - 10 inch ventilated discs
Rear - 10 inch ventilated discs
Type - Power rack and pinion, electro hydraulic
Ratio - 16.6:1
Turns lock to lock - 2.7
TYRES & WHEELS
Wheel size F/R - 5x6/1 5x6.5 inch alloys spoke
Tyre size F/R - 185/55 VR15/205/50 VR15
Spare tyre - Space-saver type
Evolution of the Mk3 MR2 - changes by model year
2000 - The Mk3 MR2 was launched in Europe, having previously been launched in Japanese and US markets. A small modification is made after the car has been rolling off the production lines for a short while, when Toyota add very small aerodynamic "spoilers" under the car ahead of each wheel. These were fitted to aid high-speed stability.
2001 - As 2000.
2002 - Addition of improved Oil Control Rings fitted to the Pistons.
2003 - (Production actually from late 2002) Mid term revision. Essentially it was cosmetic overhaul of the car, however some mechanical changes were made:
- New front bumper with integrated front fog lamps.
- New headlights with separate high/low beam units and chrome housings.
- New redesigned taillight lenses.
- Addition of new colour coded rear bumper inserts adjacent to number plate.
- New colour coded side vents.
- Interior gets new chrome detailing on vents, tweeter surrounds, heater controls, and door handles.
- Redesigned seats fitted.
- Instrument and ventilation control fascia's redesigned with new typeface.
- New Toyota Branded CD/tuner replaces Double DIN Sony CD/Tape/tuner fitted to previous years.
- 16" rear wheels replace 15" wheels previously fitted. Rear tyre goes up to 215/45/16 to fit the new larger wheels, up from the previous 205/50/15 sizes fitted in previous years. Front tyres remain the same.
- Updated suspension spring and damper settings.
- Improved suspension member brace set up installed on front and rear suspension.
- 6 Speed gearbox fitted to both manual and SMT cars, replacing the 5-speed unit fitted to previous models.
- SMT gets Electronic Traction and Stability Control.
- Options list is expanded to include TTE accessories, which were previously unavailable in the UK.
2004 - Visually the same as the 2003 car but some major upgrades were made under the skin. Essentially these were made to improve occupant safety although they do have the advantage of significantly increasing chassis stiffness as well:
- New front under-members and momentum cancellers on the strut towers to help prevent the side members from rising in the event of a frontal impact, reducing dash panel intrusion into the cabin space.
- Improved in-cabin passive safety package adopting an anti-intrusion mechanism on the brake pedal and cushioning material below the accelerator pedal – where the driver’s heel rests.
- Reinforcements to the upper front members and the door beltlines help disperse collision energy forces applied to the front side members, minimising any cabin deformation.
- New rear bumper brace, a new strut bracket brace and new floor-to-rocker brace panels attached to the main rear-cabin cross member.
- Refinements to the kick panel reinforcements, floor-tunnel reinforcements and floor cross members help minimise intrusion of the dash panel in the event of a collision.
- The centre pillar has been reinforced with additional gussets and reinforcement of the centre floor cross-member.
- New pads in the doors and retuning the hardness of the trim padding to reduce the chance of crash impact injury to the torso area.
- New Steering braces.
- New suspension settings.
- New design of heatshield fitted to Main Cat to prevent the broken weld related rattle on the previous design.
- Manifold Support Brackets are now cast steel items, bolted to four points on the engine block, replacing the previous pressed steel items that bolted at only 2 points.
MR2 Withdrawn from US market.
2005 - No technical revisions occurred, but some small additions were made to available options packs:
- Heated Seats offered as dealer fit option.
- "Chrome Pack" option introduced
2006 - No technical revisions occurred, The MR2 was withdrawn from sale in UK and Europe.
- TTE (Toyota Team Europe) Turbo kit became available for retrofit to all mk3 MR2's.
- TF300 run-out model introduced, a "special edition" of 300 cars with various minor cosmetic mods, built to dispose of Toyota GB's remaining stock.
2007 - Toyota ceased production of Mk3 MR2 in Japan.