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    History of MR2 3rd Gen


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    History of MR2 3rd Gen

    Post  SMP-VP on Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:38 pm

    After having been in the market for almost ten years, the SW20 had to move aside as Toyota released the new MR2, designated ZZW30. The new MR2 was in line with Toyotas latest tactic of making more economical cars. The Toyota Supra was scrapped and the MR2 almost received the same fate. The car received a complete makeover compared to the two previous models. One of the biggest changes was the replacement of the solid, T-Top, and sunroof options with a true convertible soft top, giving the car the 'Spyder' designation. Due to a new car design rule from SAE (The Society of Automotive Engineers), the pop-up headlights as seen on SW20 had to be removed.

    Many claim that this car was inspired by Porsche Boxster which was released in 1996, due to its similar appearance. However, the first prototype of MR-S appeared in 1997 at Tokyo Motorshow, which had slightly more angled and rigid appearance than the current production model. The production model includes additional curves for a more aerodynamic and appealing look. The MR2 Spyder chief engineer Harunori Shiratori once said "First, we wanted true driver enjoyment, blending good movement, low inertia and light weight. Then, a long wheelbase to achieve high stability and fresh new styling; a mid-engine design to create excellent handling and steering without the weight of the engine up front; a body structure as simple as possible to allow for easy customizing, and low cost to the consumer."

    In Japan, the car is called the MR-S, which purportedly is derived from the forementioned designation. Toyota changed the American name to "MR2 Spyder" reportedly because the idea of a car with the nickname of "Mrs." would sound funny. In spite of this effort, the car is referred to as the "Mr. 2" by some enthusiasts. The 1999 MR2 Spyder was an element of Toyota Project Genesis, a failed effort to bring younger buyers to the marque in the United States.

    The engine of the ZZW30 was the brand-new all-aluminium 1ZZ-FED, a 1794 cc I4. Like its predecessors, the engine used dual overhead camshafts and 16 valves. The intake camshaft timing was adjustable via the VVT-i system, which was introduced earlier on the 1998 SW20. Unlike its predecessors, however, the engine was placed onto the car the other way round, making the exhaust manifold point towards the rear of the car. The 138 hp (104 kW) maximum power was quite a drop from the SW20 GT, but thanks to the lightness of the car it could still move quite quickly, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.5 to 8.3 s depending on the transmission option, the Sequential Manual being unable to launch and shift as quickly as the clutch operated manual. The car only weighs 975kg (2150lbs) with the 5 speed manual or 997kg (2200lbs) with the SMT, making this model MR2 the lightest of the MR2 series. In addition to the 5-speed manual transmission, a 5-speed or 6-speed Sequential Manual Transmission (SMT) controllable from 2 pairs of buttons on the steering wheel was also available. SMT is standard feature in Australian market; however, air conditioning was optional. After 2003, a 6-speed SMT was an option.
    The MR-S was originally introduced in October 1999 to the Japanese consumer market in three distinct trim models - the "B", the "Standard", and the "S". The "S" trim level included power windows, locks, mirrors, AM/FM/CD radio, cloth seats, tilt steering wheel, and alloy wheels.

    In March 2000, the car was introduced into the United States and Europe as a "monospec" level, which included the same features as Japan's "S" trim level.

    For model year 2002, technology took center stage as a unique new transmission became available. Working without a manual clutch, the optional sequential manual gearbox had no conventional "H" pattern shift lever. Gears could be changed by moving a floor lever forward to upshift, or back to downshift. Or, the driver could use a pair of steering-wheel buttons to accomplish the same task. No automatic-shifting capability was provided, and no automatic transmission was ever available for the MR2 Spyder.

    For model year 2003, the ZZW30 received some exterior changes, including two new paint colors (Silver Streak Mica and Paradise Blue Metallic, while Liquid Silver Metallic was retired), front and rear fascias including headlight and taillight redesign, standard foglights, a power antenna, and the air intakes matched the paint color of the car. The rear wheels were increased to 16" diameter with larger 215 mm width tires, while the front ones remained at 15" and 185 mm tread width. Interior changes included new seats, redesigned gauge faces, and chrome trim rings around the tweeters and HVAC controls. For those models equipped with the SMT, the ECM (Engine Control Module) received an upgrade which allowed a quicker gear change relative to the 2002 model. The suspension was upgraded with new springs and shock absorbers and a brace was added to the bottom of the car to improve rigidity.

    For model year 2004, the body was structurally strengthened, adding 10 kg to the vehicle's weight and a limited-slip differential became available from the factory as an option. Also, two factory leather models became available: the Silver Streak Mica with red top and red leather, and the Absolutely Red with tan top and tan leather.

    For model year 2005, a 6-disc AM/FM/CD audio unit became standard in the US. Some pre-2005 owners have replaced their units with those found in Scions, which also added MP3 capability.
    The feedback for the new model was somewhat mixed - some liked its all new design concept, while the fans of the SW20 would've liked it to continue along the path of the previous model. All agreed, however, that the ZZW30 had nearly perfect handling. The ZZW30 is considered to be the best-handling MR2. For example, Tiff Needell, a very experienced race driver and the former host of the BBC TV show Top Gear, praised the handling of the ZZW30[8]. Although some complained of the relative lack of power the vehicle had, many owners have recently discovered a way to switch out the 1ZZ-FE engine in exchange for the 180 hp (130 kW) 2ZZ-GE. This drastically brings up the accelerating properties of the ZZW30. During a comparison test during a Japanese motorsports show, "NA vs. Turbo", the Techno Spirits ZZW30, outdrove several more powerful cars. However, the driver of the ZZW30, Manabu Orido, allowed the other vehicles (a much higher powered S15 Silvia, S14 Silvia, and Amuse S2000) to catch up (in an effort to demonstrate the difference between NA and turbo) and ended in the ZZW30 losing to the higher powered S15 Silvia. Although it lost, the ZZW30 proved the top-class handling abilities of the ZZW30. On race tracks, a stock ZZW30 has a superior handling around the corners but lacks power in the straights.

    The Techno Pro Spirit MR-S was also the first car to be able to beat Tsuchiya's champion AE86 in its own grounds, the touge.

    Another effective and typical modification to the MR-S is the addition of a turbocharger. Many companies such as Power Enterprise, Top Secret, Tom's, TTE, Monkeywrench Racing and Hass supply simple bolt-on kits for the MR-S. This simple addon can easily bring the car to 200bhp+, at only a low boost of 4-5psi. In a video by BMI, Tom's Turbo MR-S came only a split second behind the Techno 2zz MR-S at the touge. However, there is no doubt that the MR-S in turbo guise would easily outrun the 2zz MR-S in the straights.
    In the JGTC/Super GT GT300 class, a Reckless MR-S driven by Kota Sasaki and Tetsuya Yamano won the 2005 championship. Previously in 2002, Morio Nitta and Shinichi Takagis' ARTA Toyota MR-S also won the GT300. The MR-S served in the series for a long time until 2008, which apr, the last team using MR-S, decided to switch their car in the following season (which they switched to Coralla Axio).

    [edit] The end of the Spyder

    In July 2004, Toyota announced that sales of the MR2 (as well as the Celica) would be discontinued in the US at the end of the 2005 model year because of increasing competition and lack of sales. [9] The ZZW30 sold 7,233 units in its debut year, falling to just 121 for the 2005 model, for a total of 23,868 through its six years of production in the US. The 2005 model year was the last for the MR2 in the US.

      Current date/time is Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:27 am