Japanese MR2 turbo information: differences and similarities

Revision dates

The big revisions were revision 2 for the chassis and revision 3 for the engine (and ABS). The rest were mainly cosmetic.

Model codes

The model code for my 94 revision 3 Japanese MR2 GT (turbo) is E-SW20 ACMZZ. The chassis number is something like SW20-0093123.

SW20 is commonly used to mean 'mark 2 MR2', even though in some markets some non-turboed mark 2 MR2s had the SW21 prefix. The turbo engine in the MR2 turbo is known by the code '3S-GTE', but note there are a good few 3S-GTE variants used in different cars over about a 15 year period.

Differences between revision 1 & 2 engines and revision 3

Just a quick list, do not take any of these as gospel: (Please note a lot of significant chassis improvements were already made for revision 2, although revision 3 ABS is probably much improved including the addition of an accelerometer.) Its rumoured that the USA never got the later improved engines, even though the american version of the MR2 turbo was sold there until 1996 (in very small numbers after 1994 though).

Chassis number SW20-0087386 and onwards have the newer engines according to the Toyota Electronic Parts Catalogue for the Japanese MR2 turbos.

Differences between Japanese revision 3 MR2 turbo engine and UK ST205 (1994 onwards) Celica GT4 engine

Both engines are referred to by the same code: 3S-GTE. (However this doesn't mean a lot since they've been making the 3S-GTE since the 1980s, in various forms with various power outputs for various cars.)

The following parts have identical part numbers on the two cars:

Some part numbers seemed to be different such as: But I think you'll agree that the part numbers that match mean they are very similar engines, if not identical. (Bear in mind it does seem that Toyota may use different part numbers for identical parts). Other information that I've come across seems not to contradict this view except it does sound like the UK ST205 probably uses a steel exhaust turbine in the turbocharger though where as both the Japanese MR2 turbo and the Japanese ST205 use ceramic. Also, the UK ST205 probably has EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation, an emissions reduction thing), the Japanese MR2 turbo doesn't.

Almost none of the part numbers in the revision 3 MR2 turbo engine were shared with the revision 2 engine. Revision 1 and 2 engines likely have a similar relationship with the engines of the UK ST185 Celica GT4 as revision 3 does with the UK ST205.

Differences between Japanese and UK MR2s

An extensive list is yet to be produced, but most obviously its the level of trim and extras. Hifi systems are different, seats are different, Japanese have climate control and better ABS, that kind of thing. As far as I know all MR2s were made in the same factory, so therefore plain economics dictate that most of the mechanical parts are the same. Brake disks have the same part number, brake pads look identical, rest of brake parts are likely to be identical too. Wheels are identical. UK cars might not have the same shock absorbers due to the lighter weight of their NA engine, not to mention rumours of the ride being a bit softer in UK cars. Headlamps are slightly different but are interchangeable. On the whole though the chassis are pretty similar; claims by insurers or UK Toyota dealers that all the parts are different are pretty much untrue.

Difference between Japanese GT and GTS models

GT seems to have steering front fog lamps, electrically folding mirrors and some parts of the interior covered in dead cow as standard instead of as options. i.e. GT and GTS are pretty much the exact same car.

Differences between revision 1 and revision 2 chassis