MR2 Roadster – 2003 Model

6 September 2002
  • Six speed gearbox now available on both manual and SMT (Sequential Manual Transmission)
  • VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) and TRC (Traction Control) available on SMT as standard
  • Changes to suspension for improved handling
  • Larger tyres are now fitted on 16-inch wheels at the rear (15-inch at the front)
  • Chrome styling highlights improved interior quality
  • Restyled headlamps and rear lamps
  • SMT re-tuned for faster response
  • On sale in October

Since its launch nearly three years ago the Toyota MR2 Roadster has received praise for its uncompromised driving pleasure and great value-for-money.

Now Toyota has improved the MR2 Roadster with additional features that, among others, enhance both driving pleasure and safety.


VSC (Vehicle Stability Control), TRC (Traction Control) and BA (Brake Assist) are now available as standard on the MR2 Roadster with SMT. These active safety systems provide a wider safety margin without diluting MR2 Roadster’s qualities as a great handling car.

The Torsen Limited-Slip Differential (LSD) is now available as standard equipment on all versions. Although often unnoticed, the LSD is a valuable aid in extracting all the performance from the 1.8-litre VVT-i engine as it provides extra traction by continuously transferring torque to the wheel with more grip, without losing engine speed.

The already familiar manual and Sequential Manual Transmission (SMT) gearboxes are now six-speed, dramatically improving the MR2 Roadster’s mid-range acceleration and providing an even more involving drive.

With SMT the driver can either perform a quick gear change by using the steering wheel mounted buttons or the conventional gearlever. These control systems have been re-tuned for a faster response and a more sporting feel. The gearbox’s ECU now recognises when the MR2 Roadster drops below a certain speed and will automatically downshift gently to second gear for smoother driving and more responsive acceleration.

To further improve the MR2 Roadster’s outstanding handling and stability, the suspension, steering, tyres and wheels have been honed.

Extra bracing has been added to the rear suspension to create a more rigid mounting. Shock absorber valves and damping forces have been refined to create a flatter ride with a better balance between handling and stability.

Larger tyres are now fitted on 16-inch wheels at the rear (15-inch at the front). The use of needle bearings in the steering shaft also improves response and steering feel by reducing friction.


The MR2 Roadster’s exterior and interior design is classic roadster, so changes are small but significant.

Headlamps and rear lamps have been restyled. The new dual-bulb headlamps give the MR2 Roadster an enhanced sports appearance, while the rear lamps now have red lenses and two oval graphics.

The front of the car has been restyled with a trapezium-shaped bumper. This emphasises the wide, stable stance, with a bolder, more aggressive front grille. Round fog lamps integrated into the bumper add to the sporting look.

Another noticeable feature from the rear of the car is the new big-bore exhaust tailpipe – clearly marking the Toyota MR2 Roadster as a performance machine.

The new side air intake design is body colour-coded for a more integrated and premium look.

Added chrome details can now be found in the revised interior, creating a more classic, exclusive appeal.

The switch layout of the instrument panel has also been improved, with redesigned heater controls, while the graphics on the main instruments are clearer to read and the edged letters give a sportier look.

The revised Toyota MR2 Roadster will be on sale in the UK from October.


Download this release as a PDF below

MR2 Roadster – 2003 Model


Images are copyright free for editorial purposes only

Media enquiries

Please click here to see the press contacts at Toyota (GB):

Show Press Contacts

For further information, please contact:

David Rogers

07825 280608 or by email at

General, alternative fuels and mobility media enquiries

David Crouch

07909 900 085 or by email at

General, fleet and motorsport media enquiries

Please understand that our press team only deal with enquiries from media representatives.

Toyota and Lexus Press Releases

To receive all Toyota and Lexus press information, please select the box below.

To update your profile type in your email address and press return. MailChimp will then send you an email confirming your details and you will then have the opportunity of amending your details.

* indicates required
All Toyota/Lexus News