Who would have thought that Toyota would put together a development team with the painstaking dedication to perfect a low-production and low-profit-margin sports car? The Toyota MR2 SW was a hard to drive car when it first appeared in October 1989, at the height of late ’80s extravagance.
With a high center of gravity and suspension that was sensitive to changes in wheel camber, even drivers accustomed to it frequently found it challenging. A midship engine can enhance maneuverability, but can make for difficult driving because of sudden changes when the car’s limits are exceeded.
In its original form, a lack of chassis refinement in the MR2 SW underscored the negative aspects of the midship layout. However, the SW evolved through continuous enhancements in 1991 (model II), 1993 (model III), 1996 (model IV) and finally the model V version in December 1997.
The model V retains some maneuverability problems caused by its high center of gravity and mid-engined chassis. But through increased stiffness and well-thought-out suspension modifications, the Toyota MR2 SW has finally evolved into a car with cutting-edge performance. The light steering and strong traction that only a mid-engined car can achieve challenge even the performance of 275hp-class sports cars.
In terms of the balance between engine and chassis, however, the GTS, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 3SGTE power unit delivering 242 hp, is an engine-dominated sports car with capabilities that will be wasted on some drivers. This is a car for drivers who want to test their driving skills.