Toyota MR2 differences – Seperating each revoution

The SW20 model mr2 was in production for almost 11 years with 5 major revisions in that time. This can make finding the right parts or information tricky. In this post I will try to briefly explain the differences between each revolution.

Dates of Each Revision

  • Revision 1, (and the first appearance of the mk2 mr2) begins late 1989
  • Revision 2, starts early 1992
  • Revision 3, starts late 1993
  • Revision 4, starts 1996
  • Revision 5, starts late 1997 and lasts in to the year 2000

The most notable revisions were going to revision 2 for chassis development and revision 3 for engine and ABS, revision 4 and 5 were mostly cosmetic changes.

Engine differences, before and after the revolution 3.

  • Oil filter position changed
  • Engine internals upgraded
  • Different turbo-charger, (previous Toyota CT26 to the new CT20B).
  • Boost pressure increased from 10 to 13 PSI.
  • Horsepower increased from 220 to 240 BHP (depending on which market)
  • Lowered compression ratio
  • Air flow meter removed from turbo-charged models, n/a models never had them
  • Bigger injectors (Up to 540cc from 430cc)Kouki Tail lights
  • Larger throttle body
  • Higher lift intake camshaft lobes
  • New, more modern ECU
  • Fuel cut off threshold increased.
  • Cylinder head and inlet design changed, 8 ports reduced to 4.
  • Engine sump design changed
  • The newer ECU now can now modulate the turbo VSV, enabling variable control of boost pressure rather than a choice of open or closed.
  • A coolant drain plug / bung was added on to the cylinder block
  • Air temperate sensor (intake) added in after the intercooler
  • First compression ring now made from stainless steel
  • Oil ring (from piston rings) now made from stainless steel.
  • Not an engine difference but, almost all revolution 3 and above cars came with a limited slip differential whereas any previous models did not
  • Late revolution 5 cars in Japan eventually came with an option of the “Beams” engine, this was a limited production car so is very rare

Chassis Differences Between Revision 1 and 2

  • Front brake upgrade! The diameter of the front brake discs was increased from the earlier 258mm to 275mm and the thickness up from 25mm to 30mm
  • Rear brake upgrade! The diameter of the rear brakes were increased from 263mm to 281mm and the thickness from 16mm to 22mm
  • Speedometer now uses an electronic sensor rather than the older mechanical type.
  • Bigger and better wheels and tyres. The front tyre size changed from 195/60/14 to 195/55/15 and the rear tyres from 205/60/14 to 225/50/15. The spare wheel also was also increases.
  • New front strut bar, this actually stopped the adjustabililty of the caster angle.

Main Aesthetic changes

  • Round tail lights known as “kouki” tail lights
  • New one piece rear wing
  • New colour coded centre panel, side skirts and front lip
  • Rev 4 models now came with 5 spoke alloys
  • Indicators mounted on the wings (Rev 4)
  • Clear indicator lenses (rev 5)
  • New alloy wheels (slimmer spokes, rev5)
  • Larger spoiler (Gen 5)Generation 5 Spoiler

Japanese, UK MR2 differences

The biggest differences tend to be the trim level and extra toys that the Japanese models had / could have. Head-unit and speakers systems are slightly different, electric folding mirrors came on the Japanese cars as well as climate control, the seats are different and the headlamps are tiny bit different but can still be swapped. Front wingers are different as well with the side strip being higher up on UK models than Japanese. On the whole though the chassis are fairly similar as far as I am aware

End Note

Something to note that this post was just based from my experience of what I have seen on certain model cars and from internet research. That cars I have seen may have had previous part swaps and internet research can sometimes be from questionable sources so the information here is only as a guidance, not 100% definite facts




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