Toyota has graced us with incredible cars over the decades. So what is Toyota doing with these pillars of the industry?
The MR2, the Supra and the everlasting beautiful Toyota 2000GT were some of the most spectacular ones. But if Toyota gave us plenty of cars to write about and test drive, one thing it has been very slow to show us are sporty hybrid coupes. We can applaud the much needed revamping of its Corolla and Camry sagging image, but our first choice would have been to bring back the MR2 and Supra with a modernized drivetrain, such as plug-in hybrid (PHEV). Electric motors in those cars, anyone?
Our interview of Steve Wickham, Toyota’s TRD USA Vice President, Chassis Operations and his active involvement racing electric vehicles for the company left us wondering why Toyota hasn’t done more with its two of its logical updates, the Supra and the MR2.
What if Toyota…
Let’s play the game of, what if Toyota used its Prius hybrid success to give us a sporty coupe? Rumors have floated around in the past, but nothing has happened so far. If the public initially seems enthusiastic at the prospect of a sporty hybrid coupe, and the plug-in hybrid version of the Prius sold out faster than Toyota ever anticipated, how come Toyota hasn’t given us a sporty PHEV?
Here is a tidbit we missed at the last Tokyo Auto Show, the TE-S800 plug-in hybrid concept. Although it is disappointingly only a concept, enthusiastic consumers should ask Toyota to commercial such a sporty hybrid. The Toyota Engineering Society “unveiled” this MR2 plug-in hybrid. Unfortunately, this group is made up of volunteers from the Toyota engineering department.
The TE-S800 might be a mouthful to pronounce and we would bet the final name would be closer to MR2+, or MR2 PHEV. It could easily become the MR2’s successor. Weighing in at about 2,200 lb. (1,000 kg), it sports a 1.5L conventional 1NZ-FE engine pushing 115 hp at 6400 rpm. It also wisely uses a Prius 102 hp PHEV drivetain coupled to a Toyota E-CVT transmission. The performance is notable with a 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.
Is Toyota testing out the waters or is it merely showing what it could do? One thing is for sure, many would be happy to see this reincarnation of the MR2 with a proper plug-in hybrid system.