The gen 1 MR2 - Options, variants and editions guide

Before starting I want to point out that this is a growing article, and I’ll probably need your help to get it all done. So everything you could add to this article (or that needs correction), just tell me.

The gen 1 MR2 - Options, variants and editions guide - Toyota MR2 Forum

Introduction to the MR2

The name
The MR2’s name stands for Mid-engine, Rear wheel drive, 2-seater (or Mid-ship, Run-about, 2 seater).
It’s called MR2 in the entire world, with the exception of France. They just call it the MR in France, Because it would read as ‘em er deux’ which sounds as merde, the french word for sh*!. Not how you want to market your car.

The basics
The Toyota MR2 is, as it’s name suggests, a two-seat, mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive sports car.
It weighs 977kg (American MR2s are heavier) split in a ratio of 44:56 front to back.
The first gen 1 can be devided into 2 models.

  1. The AW10 - 1984-1986
  2. The AW11a (pre-facelift) - 1984-1986
  3. The AW11b (post-facelift) - 1986-1989

At launch, the JDM market offered 2 versions, with 2 different engine types. The AW10, the more docile option, had the 1.5 3A-LU SOHC engine from the Tercell. It was also the most basic one in options. Most notable is the missing spoiler on the back.

The other one is known as the AW11 and it came with the 128hp 1.6 DOHC 16v 4A-GE engine that was also used in the AE86. This engine was taken from an E8 Corolla GT and was equiped with electronic port fuel injection and a variable intake geometry (known as T-VIS). It was mated to a 5 speed manual as standard or a 4 speed automatic gearbox as option.

Toyota launched the supercharged MR2 in 1986. Based on the same block and head as the standard 4A, the 4A-GZE engine was fitted with a small Roots-type supercharger and intercooler. The compression ratio was lowered to 8:1 and variable intake geometry (T-VIS) was removed.

The MR2’s suspension and handling were designed by Toyota with the help of Lotus engineer Roger Becker. Toyota’s cooperation with Lotus during the prototype phase can be seen in the AW11, and it owes much to Lotus’s sports cars of the 1960s and 1970s.

reverse Corolla
The rear trans-axle on the AW11 was taken from a front-wheel drive E80 Corolla. If you look at the rear wheels you can still see the tie rods from the steering linkages bolted to the underside of the car. This has given the MR2 the nickname Reverse Corolla. The original MR2 is probably the most literal case of a front-wheel drive car in reverse.


The AW10 was built from 1984 till 1986 and just has one edition with one engine type. Notable to the AW10 is the following:

  • 1.5-litre 3A-LU SOHC engine
  • drum brakes on the rear
  • more basic suspension
  • no spoiler on the back
  • steel wheels
  • only in RHD


Standard equipment:

  • 3 Rib 4A-GE Blue-top (AW11a)
  • 7 Rib 4A-GE Red-top (AW11b)
  • supercharged 4A-GZE (AW11b - from 1986 on)
  • Early C52 Transmission (known for issues with 5th gear popping out), Sometimes refered to as the C50 transmission. (AW11a)
  • later C52 Transmission (AW11b)
  • hardtop


  • 4 speed automatic (in USDM there where automatics as standard, in JDM it was an option)
  • sunroof (contrary to popular believe, the sunoof was never standard on any spec)
  • T-tops (Only from 1986 on - contrary to popular believe, the T-tops were never standard on any spec)
  • leather seats and doorcards
  • electric windows
  • central locking system (on keyfob only for AW11b)
  • two-tone colour scheme
  • climate control
  • retractable mirrors
  • cruise control
  • retractable fog-lights
  • blinkers on top of front wings
  • rear spoiler with break light
  • rear spoiler with led strip
  • shoe box
  • storage box on middle console upper part
  • towbar

Variants AW11a

  1. MR2 S: bone stock, steel wheels, no spoiler, no sideskirts
  2. MR2 G: small upgrade, still steel wheels, no spoiler, no sideskirts
  3. MR2 G-Sport Package: more luxury and options, steel or aluminum wheels, spoiler; black sideskirts, doorhandles and mirrors
  4. MR2 G-Limited: most luxurious and option-packed, aluminum wheels, everything in bodycolour

Variants AW11b

  1. MR2 S: bone stock, steel wheels, no spoiler, no sideskirts
  2. MR2 G: small upgrade, still steel wheels, no spoiler, no sideskirts
  3. MR2 G-Limited: most luxurious and option-packed, aluminum wheels, everything in bodycolour
  4. MR2 G, Supercharger: Same as ‘MR2 G’ but with a supercharger and polished wheels
  5. MR2 G-Limited, Supercharger: Same as ‘MR2 G-Limited’ but with a supercharger and polished wheels.

Special editions

White Lanner
The White Lanner is kind of an infamous car. Many enthousiast don’t believe it was an actual special edition. Most people believe it’s just an other enthousiasts handywork.
Basicly the White Lanner is just a G-Limited in all white.
The White Lanner is RHD only.

Black limited
Same story as the White Lanner, only in full black. The Black Limited is RHD only.

Super Edition - First version (1988)
The first version of the Super Edition is based on the G-Limited Supercharger. It came in one colorscheme only, namely the two-tone white over gold. It has a couple of interesting extra’s namely the Momo wheel and shift knob, half leather seats and some super edition decals.
The Super Edition is RHD only.

Super Edition - second version (1989)
The Second version of the Super Edition is also based on the G-Limited Supercharger. It also came in one colorscheme, and it was an awesome one. Midnight Blue with gold trim. The Midnigt Blue (code: 20353 - some claim 8E4) only came on this car. It is not the same as the Dark Blue (code:8E3) the other MR2’s came in. Further it has the same steering wheel and shift knob as the white one. Seats where the Recaro LX-C’s (which was also an option in the SW20). It also had the super edition decals. Further it was way better equiped then the white one.

Toyota 222D
This isn’t exaclty an MR2, and it was never available for the public. It wasn’t even raced because Group B rally shut down before it was ready to go. Only a handfull of prototypes were made, and they’re in museums. I can recommend looking for some info about it. Very interesting.

Some people I want to thank, because of the info I found on their respecitve pages.

  • RdS on
  • Qian Li on CarThrottle
  • Basirk on
  • Paul from P-speed garage for sparking my interest