Toyota MR2 – Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed

Toyota MR2 – Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed

MR2. Mr. 2 if you’re nasty. It’s a badass spaceship from Japan that
went head to head with some of the best exotics in the world. What it lacked in size it made up for in pure
driving joy, and it helped Toyota establish a decade’s long reputation for performance.It’s
one of the famous Toyota triplets, it’s the Supra’s little brother and at one point it
was faster. That’s right. Here’s everything you need to know to get
Up to Speed on the Toyota MR2. (8-bit music plays) This episode of Up To Speed is brought to
you by Movement Watches. I wear mine everyday and I’ve already been
married nine times. (Engine revving) The Toyota MR2 began as a design experiment
in 1979. Lead Designer Akio Yoshida was trying to build
a car that got great gas mileage and was fun to drive. I love it, I love this car. He was playing around with his sketch pad
and thought “WHOA, what if I put the engine behind the driver?” The car could be really aerodynamic and the
weight balance would be great for driving around on the twisties. “Holy crap guys, I think I just made a sports
car!” Yoshida’s bosses were like “Dude, you’re
a little crazy, but we like it. Let’s make this thing!” The MR2 prototype rode a fine line between
cutting edge and cutting costs. The car was equipped with disc brakes at every
wheel, which was advanced for the early eighties, but also used simple MacPherson strut suspension,
which… wasn’t so advanced. What critics might see as a way to cut costs,
Toyota saw as innovative, minimalist design. The simple nature of Macpherson struts made
for less sophisticated handling, but they take up a lot less room. Which is important when you are putting an
engine where it’s not supposed to be, huh. When you’re designing a small mid-engined
car, you have to save space wherever you can. I cannot stress this enough I learned it the
hard way. Don’t make the same mistakes I have. The Car was also powered by the world’s
first production twin cam, 16 valve engine, the 4A-GE. Ever head of it, it’s a freakin legend. The little four banger hit redline at 7,400
rpm. It freakin screamed, and it ripped. The MR2 was Japan’s first mid-engine car and
it also had pop up freakin headlights. Toyota was serious about making the MR2 really
really good, they even tested the prototype out at Willow Springs and had racing legend
Dan Gurney help develop the suspension. You know how every race car driver sprays
champagne on the podium after they win? Yeah, Dan Gurney invented that, so I think
he knows a thing or two about making fast cars. Sh*t cops. Get down on the ground! Dan and his team spent four days at Willow
making tweaks to the car, to get it just right. Gurney liked the car so much, he convinced
Toyota to let him take the Prototype to Angeles Crest highway so he could see how
well it handled on real world conditions. He freaking loved it. He practically asked it to marry him. He called it late at night and when, when
it picked up he hung up. He would text the MR2 randomly and say “What’s
up, how you been? Just thinking about you.” That’s how much he liked it. Toyota gave us the ‘Midship Runabout 2-seater,
that is actually what MR2 stands for, in 1984, when it went on sale in Japan, and it was
an instant favorite. It was modern and exotic- the car was reminiscent
of the prototypical driver’s car- the Lotus, which was intentional. Lotus helped Toyota design the suspension,
and Toyota ‘borrowed’ a few Lotus design cues for the body. Alongside the Celica and Supra, the MR2 gave
Toyota some serious performance cred. If you wanted an affordable and reliable sports
car in the 80s, you had get a Toyota! Why did people love the MR2 so much? Well I’ll tell ya bud! Like the Miata and Nissan Z, the MR2 gave
owners the raw driving thrill of a car exponentially more expensive. And since it was Japanese, you didn’t have
to worry about getting it serviced every ten thousand miles like a Ferrari. For around 38 grand in today’s money, you
could own a mid engined sportscar that looked like a spaceship. Yes, that’s awesome. In 1986 the MR2 was offered with a supercharger
that produced 145 horsepower, which pushed the car from zero to sixty in six and a half
seconds. That was faster than the Supra and almost
as quick as the Ferrari 328. The supercharger also had an innovative feature
that allowed it to be disengaged when it wasn’t needed to save gas. It could also be bought with T-tops which
pretty much makes the MR2 the most 80s car ever. You got the T-Top, you got them Pop Up headlights
and you got a supercharger. This thing is everything we love from the
80s in one car, it’s amazing. So now Toyota’s got a real sports car that’s
beating everything on the road, so what do you do? Naturally, they take it off road. In the mid eighties Toyota built an MR2 rally
car called the ‘Two Twenty Two D’. It may have looked like an MR2, but shared
virtually nothing with the production version, except for some body panels and that Macpherson
strut suspension. It was all wheel drive, and reportedly made
over 600 horsepower. It also looked like freaking monster. So how did this beast perform? Well, it didn’t. Unfortunately the class it was designed for,
Group S, was scrapped with Group B. What’s Group B? Only the most badass collection of Rally Cars
ever assembled. (Loud exhaust notes) The second gen Mr. two debuted in 1990, with
a fresh face and a sleek new bod. Critics soon started calling the W20 the ‘Poor
man’s Ferrari’ because it kinda looked like one. The new MR2 embraced the Exotic mindset with
a more luxurious interior and larger overall design. It’s still very small. Chief Engineer Kazutoshi Arima. Chief Engineer Kazutoshi Arima exclaimed that
“The MR2 should be the perfect expression of freedom.” Freedom! Arima wanted the car to be a space where the
Japanese driver could be themselves, and he felt the rigors of life in Japan made it hard
to do so. The W20 weighed 400 pounds more than the previous
car, but that didn’t matter because Toyota got rid of the Supercharger and threw on a
turbocharger. It’s a turbo Elaine, a turbo! Making 200 horses, and it was only available
with a manual transmission. Which is freakin awesome. These days the Turbo models go for about 2 to 3
times as much as the naturally aspirated ones, which sucks because I’m paying like $6500
dollars a month in child support. He’s 22 years old Jessica! The updated MR2 was again a legitimate threat
to the ‘fancier’ sportscars. The stock turbo MR2 beat the NSX, Supra and
Ferrari 348 in the Quarter mile. On the Japanese car show “Best Motoring”
the MR2 went head to head against cars like the M3, R32, RX7 and the Supra, all of them
brand new at the time, and the MR2 held them all off for a lap, like it was playing Gran
Turismo on easy mode. Toyota Racing Development, TRD, offered the
MR2 with an official body kit and tuning package turning the car into a replica of their TRD
2000 GT race car. Customers could order the package with whatever
engine and suspension upgrades they wanted, with some rumored to produce over 500 horsepower. Making it the most badass deathtrap Toyota
ever made. The second Gen MR2 was produced for ten years
with only very few changes throughout it was just that good. The one major change Toyota made to the 2nd
Gen MR2 was the suspension. The car had a tendency to let the tail out
if you let off the gas during a turn, which would then snap back when the car found its
weight balance. Snap oversteer. This is easy to correct if you have F1 driver
level skills like me or Dan Gurney, but it caught a lot of regular people off guard. Toyota made tweaks to fix the problem in ‘93,
but critics said the car had lost it’s edge. Would you make up your mind? Do you want the car to kill you or not? I swear these car critics, I don’t know man. The third generation MR2 “Spyder” with
a “y” was unveiled in 2000, this time offered only as a convertible. Fans were a little disappointed with the toned
down looks but that didn’t matter because this thing was really freakin’ good. Some journalists called it the best handling
car you could buy, even better than the freaking Miata. The new MR2 was being compared to the Porsche
Boxster, which is exactly what Toyota wanted. Ya hear that Mazda? Not only is our car better than your’s we’re
better than Porsche too! Suck it! Ohhh! The Spyder’s design was entirely focused
on the driving experience. Sure, It made ‘only’ 138 horsepower but
the car was so light that it didn’t even matter. Like the Miata and the Boxster, the Spyder
rewarded drivers who kept their momentum going. However, if you still find the power to be
a little lacking, swapping for other Toyota four cylinders or even some 6’s is pretty
easy. The Spyders gained popularity as a great choice
for first project cars. They’re pretty cheap and since it’s a
Toyota, you don’t have to worry about it breaking down all the time. MR2 sales started to decline around the world,
and the Spyder ended production in 2007. Toyota shifted their focus away from sports
cars and towards building more practical cars like the Prius, until 2013 when they Introduced
the GT86, but that is a story for another day. The MR2 was Toyota’s take on the exotic,
both in terms of looks and driving feel, and they did a pretty damn good job. While it may have started out as an exploration
in good gas mileage, The MR2 transformed into a perfect mix of driving emotion, stellar
design, and legendary Toyota reliability. it’s a really cool car. This episode of Up To Speed was brought to
you by Movement Watches. Movement was founded on the belief that style
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them giant white bears from the North Pole. That is everything you need to know to get
Up To Speed on the Toyota MR2. We were literally bribed with cookies to make
this one. Donut fan Jack thinks he can bribe us with
cookies, well he can. We’ll get the MR2 Up To Speed out asap. Jack beautiful family, we love you. We got Top 10’s every Friday, Matt Field’s
FD Corvette build every Tuesday. We got a lot of stuff going on, keep paying
attention to Donut. As always like, comment , subscribe, and share. I love you.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. I think you bringing this info to the younger generations really helps them respect and appreciate the iconic cars of past generations

  2. I know a lot of yall will just ignore this, but I'm going to start making videos on fixing up my 1993 MR2 NA and I wanted to know like what type of videos yall would want to see and stuff and was I could make it entertaining. Thank you and have a nice day!

  3. Really wanted to hear the "pop up and down headlights" song that the Fiero got. Sure, this video came out first, but you should've known. For shame. I forgive you though.

  4. I’m sorry but… when the Spyder came out it was the laughing stock of, well everything. Honestly doesn’t even matter if it was amazing to drive. Never knew anyone who was proud to own one 😂😂

  5. James needs a Delorean to go back and splice in POP POP POP POP UP UP AND DOWN HEADLIIIIGHTS into this vid. Make it so!

  6. I came here for information about a car but you make a video about yourself. Your over-articulated voice and hand gestures are completely pointless.


    Lamborghini: Yeah ok

    Buggati: No I’m coming

    Toyota: Hey guys I’m here with my MR2

    Mazda: I got a RX-7

    Ferrari: you got anything else?

    Toyota: just the Supra

    Ferrari: x_x


    Buggati: The French are coming wait Toyota and Mazda…

  8. The 1992 bi-turboMr2 with a tan leather interior was my dream car right up to a car accident left me disabled&in a wheelchair in 2012. X-0,,… thanks for the fun * if heartbreaking ) info, James!

  9. Ps fuck mvmnt watches. Love the channel but they don't sell cheap high en watches they sell overpriced(over $100) $20 Chinese watches

  10. My buddy got the first one in Ga. that was the fastest go cart I’ve ever driven. Lol. It was amazing at the the time. I love that car. Great video

  11. There’s a charcoal grey 1986 MR2 with black rims for sale right down the road from me. $5000.
    I’m REALLY debating on picking it up.
    Anyone here own one?

  12. MR2 would look good all electric, killing Tesla with "kamikaze" mode that then suddenly bursts forth lightning leaving 2 streaks of fire and landing you back actually in the 80's

  13. I laughed so hard on Jay leno garage when I saw the Girly-man Say his Toyota looks like a Ferrari…. And what grown man can drive a girly- Toyota …. Toyota cars n trucks are girly-man

  14. You know whats cool is that my uncle has a mr2 and i never knew that this car was fast until i saw this vid i just thought the car my uncle had was just a normal car but its not.

  15. Fun Fact: CEO of Toyota stated in an interview that he wants to bring back the MR2 with the help of Porsche.
    Not necessarily a bad idea, but you know, purists just have to ruin everything.

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