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Toyota Is Not Done With Its Punchy Inline-three Turbo Engine. Here's Where You can See It Next

The GR Yaris engine is here for the long haul, and these upcoming Toyota models are going to be motivated by it.

In 2020, Toyota introduced the Toyota GR Yaris. Simultaneously, Toyota launched what is, currently, the inline-three engine with the highest specific output of any road-going three-cylinder mill. This is especially apparent in the limited-edition Toyota Yaris GRMN and the more powerful GR Corolla, where the engine makes 300 horsepower. 

Despite its small displacement and only three cylinders, the engineers from Toyota Gazoo Racing have created a little monster. The GR Yaris's G16E-GTS engine already proved to be a formidable powertrain and tuners have already proven that 500 horsepower is possible on a stock engine. Toyota's little three-cylinder turbo mill is here to stay for the long haul, and here's which upcoming, Toyota sports cars the turbo-three engine is going to be motivating. 

2026 Toyota MR-2 

There have been a lot of reports coming from Japan, regarding the next-generation Toyota MR-2. It was rumored that the 2026 Toyota MR-2 will be co-developed with Suzuki and Daihatsu and would feature a modified version of Suzuki's 1.0-liter, turbocharged, inline-three engine.

However, the latest reports from Japan indicate that the upcoming MR-2 will be based on the current GR Yaris and powered by the 1.6-liter turbo-three engine. This would likely mean the GR Yaris platform would be turned 180 degrees to accommodate a mid-engine setup.

There is a downside, however – the price. Reports from Japan indicate the MR-2 will arrive in 2026 and cost over 10.0 million yen ($66,496 in 2024 money). 

2025 Toyota GR86 

In 2024, we are witnessing the retirement of the current-generation Toyota GR86 and its technological twin, the Subaru BRZ. This puts an end to this epic collaboration that started back in 2012 and gave us an affordable Japanese sports car that wasn't the Mazda MX-5. The 86 name would live on, however, and for better or worse, it would feature a hybrid powertrain.  

Even back in 2022, Toyota was testing a turbocharged version of the GR86. The same year, the turbocharged GR86 was entered the Japanese Super Taikyu Endurance Races while running on synthetic fuel. The road-going model will adopt a hybrid powertrain, revolving around the race car's de-stroked version of the 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-three engine. Displacement is reduced to 1.4 liters, but power output is already said to be over 300 horsepower.  

While we can get a turbocharged GR86 as early as 2025, other reports indicate a production car could make an appearance as late as 2028, which would give the MR-2 more room to breathe, without internal competition. Japanese reports from February 2023 suggest the Subaru BRZ could also become turbocharged, but considering Toyota and Subaru are parting ways in the sports car development, a future BRZ is more likely to have a turbocharged flat-four. 

2024 Lexus LBX Morizo RR 

Toyota is planning to extent the usage of the G16E-GTS engine, beyond the performance versions of light passenger cars.

The first SUV to adopt the 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine will be the Lexus LBX, as showcased by the Lexus LBX Morizo RR concept. The Lexus LBX is, essentially a more upscale GR Yaris that has been raised. Its shares the TNGA GA-B architecture of the regular Yaris while the GR Yaris features a hybrid platform between TNGA GA-B (front) and GA-C (rear). In the compact Lexus SUV, the 1.6-liter G16E engine will match the GR Corolla's 300 horsepower. At the moment, the Lexus LBX can be had in a more toned-down version, with a 1.5-liter hybrid powertrain. 


About The Author

Dimitar Angelov's automotive interests made him an expert in a wide variety of vehicles. Japanese brands like Toyota are closest to his heart, although performance cars in general are his favorite segment, which is why he is constantly on the lookout for the best deals on the market. Dimitar Angelov's car passion and knack for the written word led him to complete a Master of Arts in Media and Communications, and classic car restoration. Dim is happy to get behind the wheel of any car and share his impressions. You can follow Dimitar on XLinked-inInstagram, and Facebook.