Toyota is reportedly gearing up to take on the Mazda MX-5 with an upcoming roadster.

    Japanese publication Best Car reports Toyota is preparing to launch the next instalment in its three-part rear-wheel drive sports car rollout in 2026.

    The Toyota 86 was the first model launched as a part of the plan, followed by the latest-generation, BMW Z4-based Supra.

    While the first-generation 86 and second-generation GR86 are regarded as Toyota’s closest competitors to the Mazda MX-5, neither have been offered as convertibles.

    According to Best Car, the upcoming sports car aims to fill a hole in its global lineup which has been vacant since the third-generation Toyota MR2 was discontinued in the mid-2000s.

    It will reportedly be based on the S-FR concept, previewed by Toyota at the 2015 Tokyo motor show.

    The publication claims the S-FR – which stands for Small Front-engined Rear-wheel drive – could be powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder engine, developing about 112kW. That’s 23kW less than the current MX-5’s naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder.

    When the Toyota S-FR was revealed, the carmaker said it measured 3990mm long, 1695mm wide and 1320mm tall on a 2480mm wheelbase, while claiming it would be a 2+2 with space (albeit limited) for rear occupants.

    This would make it 75mm longer in body and 170mm between the axles than the current MX-5, though the Toyota concept stacks up 40mm narrower with a roof that sits 90mm higher.

    Like the 86/GR86 (which were partly developed by Subaru and twinned with the BRZ) and the Supra (a reclothed BMW Z4), Toyota is expected to lean on the small-car production expertise of its subsidiary Daihatsu and part-owned Suzuki for the upcoming sports car.

    Best Car claims the production model will closely resemble Daihatsu’s Vision Copen concept from the 2023 Japan Mobility show, which is not only close in size to the S-FAR but is powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder engine, driving the rear wheels.

    The Vision Copen concept is 440mm longer and 220mm wider than Daihatsu’s existing Copen kei car roadster, which is also sold as the Toyota Copen GR Sport in Japan, but 80mm shorter and 40mm narrower than an MX-5.

    The publication reports pricing of the new Toyota droptop could start from approximately ¥3.5 million – equivalent to about $34,000, or in the ballpark of the MX-5 which ranges from ¥2.9 million ($28,200) to ¥3.7 million ($36,000) in Japan.

    As reported last year, Best Car has claimed Toyota could bring the mid-engined MR2 back into production, while chairman Akio Toyoda has also said he’s pushing for a revival of the Celica.

    MORE: Toyota’s sports car range could grow to include more icons

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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