The Toyota MR2, or "midship runabout two-seater," started its life as an experiment in cheating wind and sipping fuel. As Donut Media’s James Pumphrey explains, it also happened to be fun to drive. From there, Lotus and Dan Gurney got involved in suspension development and refinement. The first-generation MR2 was also the first Japanese mid-engine production car, beating the Honda NSX by five years. The MR2 was also redeveloped as a Group S rally monster, but with the death of Group B and Group S, the rally machine never saw real competition.
The second-gen MR2 looked sleeker and more in line with 1990s styling, also gaining an available turbocharger, which cranked the inline-four's output to 200 hp. The car was so capable that it held its own with the era’s supercars, despite being a small four-cylinder-powered gas-sipper.
The third-gen MR2 brought styling into the 2000s for better or worse, and competed directly with the Mazda Miata and Porsche Boxster. Though the MR2 put up a good fight, it lost the sales war. The 2000-2007 MR2 was convertible only and might have been one of the best handling cars of its vintage.
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