The Toyota Supra’s Father Wants to Partner With Porsche on a New MR2

August 22, 2019 Cars By
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Toyota partnered with BMW to revive the Supra, and before that, the carmaker shared development costs for the 86 with Subaru. Recently, asked Toyota’s chief engineer Tetsuya Tada who he wanted to work with to revive another iconic Toyota sports car, the MR2. Tada replied “Porsche.”

The Toyota MR2 was a two-seat, mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive sports car (check out the details about buying a used one here). It was definitely toward the affordable end of the spectrum. The best comparison would be a less powerful but lighter Miata — albeit one with vaunted Toyota reliability.

If one were to bootstrap a two-seat, mid-engined sports car, Porsche would be the ideal partner. The Boxster/Cayman remains the gold standard for that segment. Combining Toyota build quality with Porsche tech at an affordable price point is enough to make any automotive writer faint.

However, saying it is easy; doing it is hard. The first roadblock is, what would be in it for Toyota? The MR2 is well respected, but it’s not a situation like the Supra where the resale market was begging for a new one. No MR2, no matter how clean, has ever hit $25,000 in a Bring a Trailer auction. And Toyota, as noted, already has a pair of two-seater sports cars with the Supra and the 86. This isn’t a “more the merrier” situation as it would be with a compact SUV.

Even if Toyota were game, what would be in it for Porsche? Subaru scored the BRZ from the Toyota partnership. BMW received the Z4 and an inline-six engine it can potentially repurpose for other cars. Porsche would either have an engine it can’t use, or a competitor that would siphon sales from the Boxster/Cayman.

Porsche and Toyota partnering on a new MR2 would be spectacular. It just doesn’t make much sense.

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Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol's Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He's based outside Detroit.

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