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Thread: The Toyota MR2: Generation Information

  1. #1
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    Default The Toyota MR2: Generation Information

    First Gen
    The Toyota MR2, also known as the mid-engine, rear drive, 2 seater or the AW11 was first introduced to the world market in 1985 after being released for 1 year prior in Japan. The normally aspirated MR2 was powered by the still popular and at the time revolutionary 1.6L DOHC 4 cylinder 4age engine. This high revving 112hp Toyota engine combined with its placement in the rear of the car made for an incredibly exciting vehicle. In 1988 North America was treated to a supercharged version of the first gen MR2. The 145hp 1.6L 4agze gave mr2 owners the speed that had been lacking in the normally aspirated models. In 1989 however production of the first gen mr2 ended while production of the 2nd gen car was currently underway.

    Driving a first Gen MR2: Besides some of the pure high dollar sports cars such as the Lotus Elise the first gen Mr2 is as close as you get to driving a go cart. You sit deep in the supportive seats and the cars short wheelbase makes it almost possible to stick your arm out the side window and touch the rear tires. Entering into a corner hard the first gen mr2 stays planted to the ground. Understeer is almost non existant while at the same time there is barely any oversteer, which is very unusual for a mid engine car. In a straight line the normally aspirated MR2 is a little anemic until about 4300rpm when TVIS (Toyota, variable, induction system) kicks in and the butterfly valves open up letting in more air into the intake chamber which creates a nice surge of power and noise. The Supercharged version however pulls nicely at all rpms and doesnt take long to get the car up to 200km/hr. Braking on the little car is done by 4 wheel discs all around which do a phenomal job at helping the car stop even though the calipers and rotors are very very small. The cockpit is well thought out with sharp square lines that you would expect to see in an 80s sci-fi spaceship. Everytime I sit in one I feel like I'm in the movie Starship Commander. Today you can pick up a first gen for as low as $1000, they are a perfect car for auto-x, road course or just plain enjoying.

    JDM Supercharged first Gen MR2

    Second Gen
    The second generation MR2 or SW20 occured at the beginning of Toyotas horsepower craze. The tiny car was redesigned then outfitted with a 2.0L turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 4 cylinder producing 200hp and 200ft/lbs tq. The turbo charged engine that came in the MR2 was know as the 3sgte and came in several generations as well. In Japan the mr2 was host to several generations of 3sgtes including 225 and 245hp versions. Unfortunately however this extra horspower also caused an increase in the MR2's overalll weight. Bigger brakes, a stronger transaxle as well as a cast iron block all added a large amount of weight to the car but also added a large amount of reliabilty and performance as well. For those who didnt want to go turbo there was also the option of a normally asprirated mr2. In North America the NA mr2 was home to the 140hp 2.2L 5sfe engine. During its production life the second generation MR2 was very competitive in the JGTC series and today is still used by import drags racers and weekend road course junkies across the world.

    Driving the Second Generation MR2
    The Second Gen MR2 hit the North American Market in 1991 and was sold in Canada until 1993, 1995 in the States and 1999 in Japan. If you've ever sat in or owned a first gen MR2 when you first sit down in a second gen it will feel very familiar. The high center console and the low seating reminds you of the jet fighter seating position in the old one however this time around the lines of the dash have been curved to give the interior a look that still looks modern by todays standards. The incredibly quiet 7200rpm turbo 4cylinder comes to life at 3200rpm where you are pulled back into your seat while the boost reaches a conservative maximum of 8psi. With a top speed of over 250km/hr and a 0-100km/hr time of under 6 seconds it becomes very addicting to mash the throttle down over and over again. In the corners however the party quickly ends unless you have some practice driving the car. The heavy iron block engine in the rear causes a huge amount of oversteer on even the small corners so be prepared. The second gen MR2's have been known to bite even the most skilled drivers so practice is necessary before you start diving into those apex's. At speeds over 210km/hr you also have to be carefull. There is no weight in the front the MR2 so at high speeds it experiences quite a bit of lift in the front end causing the steering to feel very light which is quite frightening at those speeds. A lower front lip or bumper cover can help to reduce lift and keep the nose of the car on the ground. The brakes on the 1991 mr2's are good, the brakes on the 1993s'are awesome. Stopping from 100km/hr-0 takes only 109ft. For those upgrading their MR2 brakes look not to aftermarket units but to the stock 1993 and up units instead. With its smooth lines, side air vents and T-tops the second gen MR2 has many Ferrari 348 traits in it. It's no wonder it has been called the poor mans Ferrari.

    The incredibly rare 10th anniversary second generation Toyota MR2

    3rd gen
    The 3rd Gen MR2 also known as the MRS or MR2 Spyder was first sold in 2000. This car went back to the roots of the original MR2. It was light, handled well and was very slow lol. It's 1.8L DOHC 4 cylinder engine with VVTI is quiet and efficient but doesn't have much power. In fact it generates only 140hp which is very low by todays standards. The 140hp engine in the 3rd gen MR2 is enough however to make it quicker than the first gen. Keep in mind the 3rd gen MR2 is also a convertible. A first ever for MR2's. Everything else on the MR2 is as good as youd expect on any other toyota without being too exciting.

    Driving the 3rd Gen MR2
    Driving a 3rd gen mr2 down the highway with the top down feels like driving in a similar year corolla with the windows down. There is alot of windnoise with not too much engine noise. The interior is no longer the same aggressive fighter pilot design like that of the previous MR2's. Instead it's a mix of a miata and RSX interior. In the corners however you forget about the cheezy interior the gutless engine and the debatable looks. The little MR2 takes even the most difficult turns with almost no understeer and when you push it just a little to hard and it starts to oversteer the car can be easily controlled making it easy to perform nice smooth drifts. What I did like about the 3rd gen MR2 was how light it felt and how easily it braked. With 60 or 70 more hp this car would be a serious competitor to some of the higher dollar sports cars out there.

    The Toyota MR2 Spyder made the change from Ferrari lookalike to Porsche lookalike
    Last edited by Redlyne_mr2; 09-08-2004 at 11:48 PM.
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    Post the JDM differences too man.

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