The first generation MR2 (AW10/AW11) would be my favorite out of the 3 generations.It was Toyota’s experimental project with the Lotus corporation in its prototype phase of the M90 concept. It’s name ment “Midship Runabout 2-seater” also dubbed as the “poor man’s Ferrari” or “mini-Ferrari” by some, it was something that you wouldn’t expect from Toyota.
Toyota, well known for producing economical and practical family cars; created a non-practical 2 seater, light weight, mid-engined compact that wasn’t even really born to be a sports car, but was just a fun enjoyable cruiser. The MR2 was the first japanese car to use the MR layout. Enjoyable cruiser? Definitely! Strategically bolt in the legendary 16V 4AG-E, later on supercharging it making a 4AG-ZE, then loading it with Momo commissioned steering wheel and shift knob. The slapping in some Recaro Seats and branding it “Super Edition”..lightweight high reving roadsters; now THAT’s classic DNA of a sport compact car!
Traces of Toyota are still visible in a Lotus. As of today, it is still rumored that Lotus is still in subtle contact with Toyota ; visible in the Esprit’s, the Trueno tail lights, and the Elise and Exige using the Matrix XRS’ VVTL-i 1.4 motor.
Sadly, the succeeding generations of the MR2 died slowly in my book. Toyota needs to bring some Midship goodness back!