Toyota MR2 primed for revival as combustion-only Mazda MX-5 rival

The S-FR (standing for small, front-engined, rear-wheel drive) was originally revealed at the 2015 Tokyo motor show and powered – theoretically, as it has only ever been drivable in the Gran Turismo video game – by a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre four-pot, sending 133bhp and 111lb ft to the rear axle via a six-speed manual gearbox.

Measuring just 3990mm long, 1695mm wide and 1320mm tall, it is almost identical in silhouette and stature to today’s MX-5 and sufficiently smaller than today’s GR86 to be theoretically viable as a ‘baby’ sports car to serve as the entry point into Toyota’s performance line-up. It is also said to weigh just 1050kg, which would make any production version among the lightest sports cars available.

Crucially, maintaining that featherweight figure will no doubt be contingent on Toyota bringing the S-FR to production without electrical assistance. It is possible that the decision to build the S-FR is linked to Toyota’s commitment to developing synthetic fuels and hydrogen-combustion technology.

GR boss Masahito Watanabe recently told Autocar that Toyota still believes “the internal combustion engine has some potential” in the sports car arena, adding: “We don’t want to give up. “It’s not over just yet, because if you look at the internal combustion engine, there’s still hydrogen combustion that can be a part of that zero-emission line-up, so I think that’s going to continue.”

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