Quick look: 1988 Toyota MR2 vs. 2018 Toyota 86

The Toyota MR2 shocked the automotive world when it arrived – in part because Toyota was a conservative company –  and the MR2 was a mid-engine two seater with performance that rivaled exotics. The car earned rave reviews for it’s handling and performance in a small affordable package. The supercharged mid-engine layout contributed greatly to the MR2’s agility.

Today, the Toyota 86 continues the tradition, benefiting from another unique engine: a flat four power plant located in front. The flat four lowers the center of gravity of the vehicle as compared to vertical inline four cylinder engine. As a result, the 86 provides handling similar to the MR2.

A new chart created by Olathe Toyota Parts Center pits the 1988 Toyota MR2 Supercharged against the 2018 Toyota 86 and reveals some striking similarities. Despite the almost 30-year age difference, both Toyotas run an impressive ¼ mile, go from 0 to 60 in less than seven seconds, and get decent gas milage. While both of these Toyota sports cars were built to be affordable, when adjusted for inflation, the 1988 MR2 actually costs more than the 2018 Toyota 86.

Highlights from the chart:

  • The 0-60 times are almost identical, and the Toyota 86’s time represents the manual transmission car because the automatic is somewhat slower.
  • The 1988 MR2 hit the ¼ mile in 15 seconds at 91 mph. Thirty years later, the 2018 86 does it in 14.8 seconds at 95 mph.
  • The MR2’s 1.6L 4A-GZE featured a Roots-type supercharger that stacked large quantities of air into the intake manifold and pushed the performance to 145 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque.
  • The 86’s A20D/4U-GSE 2.0L flat-four has a fuel injection system utilizing both direct and port injection and bumps the horsepower to 205 @7000 rpm and 156 pound-feet.
  • The 1988 MR2’s Supercharger hardware wasn’t lightweight, so it accounts for some of the 2604-pound curb weight the chart reveals. However, the 86 still outweighs it by 172 pounds.
  • The two cars offer the exact miles per gallon.

About the author

Nicole Ellan James

As an automotive journalist and avid car enthusiast, Nicole Ellan James has a passion for automotive that is reflected in every aspect of her lifestyle. Follow Nicole on Instagram and Facebook - @nicoleeellan
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