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Toyota S-FR concept reportedly gets green light for production

In World
June 03, 2024

Enthusiasts wouldn’t give up talk about a resurrected Toyota Supra, so Toyota made one. With BMW deciding to end BMW Z4 production in March 2026, we might have to wait until late 2025 to know what Toyota plans for the sports car it builds atop the Z4‘s chassis. Enthusiasts also haven’t given up talking about the Toyota MR2. Chairman and ex-CEO Akio Toyota said he wanted a sports car trio of “three brothers,” with the Supra at the top, then the GR86, then something small and light akin to the MR2. Rumor last year from Best Car magazine in Japan said Toyota was working with corporate partner Toyota and Suzuki on a mid-engined hybrid sports car. The newest rumor from Best Car (translated), via Autocar, is that execs approved the car for production. 

When it comes to pinpointing which kind of car, however, it seems Autocar took a slightly different angle than Best Car. The Japanese magazine’s report is focused on the S-FR concept from the 2015 Tokyo Auto Show. This was a tiny 2+2 about 10 inches shorter than the old Scion FR-S that’s become the Toyota GR86. The automaker called it a showcase of what an even smaller sports car could look like, and we all took it as a potential competitor to the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The automaker didn’t outline mechanical details, but the S-FR had a front-engine/rear-drive layout with a driveshaft down the spine, an independent suspension, a six-speed manual transmission, and “optimal weight distribution.”

Here’s the thing: By the time the MR2 ended production in 2007, it was 3.7 inches shorter than today’s GR86, about 10 inches longer than today’s Mazda MX-5 Miata — meaning that size among the “three brothers” is already spoken for. Best Car gives a production S-FR dimensions of 157.5 inches long, 68 inches wide, 52 inches high, which is three inches longer than the Miata, the same width, and 3.5 inches taller. If Toyota releases a new vehicle called the MR2 with S-FR specs, it will be comfortably smaller than the old MR2, which would upset the folks yearning for a new MR2. For comparison, the GR Supra is within two inches of the MkIV Supra in every dimension. 

No matter what it’s called on the market — should it reach the market in the predicted 2026 or 2027 time frame — the rumor is that Toyota provides the chassis and front suspension, Suzuki contributes a turbocharged 1.3-liter engine with about 148 horsepower, and Daihatsu’s easy-to-swap body panels will make it easier to create three different vehicles.

To be honest, those sound like specs for something that will be a Japanese and European special, like the GR Yaris. The Best Car story even discusses the S-FR’s creation as a side effect of Toyota and Daihatsu working on a new subcompact hatchback to compete in the World Rally Championship’s Group Rally4 category, akin to the new Lancia Ypsilon Rally4 HF. What we’ll be looking for is how any of this might dovetail with the Toyota FT-Se concept shown at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, a GR-badged battery-electric concept commonly considered a lightweight sports car to suit our tastes.   

Toyota Information

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