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Toyota's plan to save driving: Epic "Three Brothers" sports car plan finally comes to life in the all-new 300kW Celica - and that's just the beginning | Opinion

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Toyota Celica render. (image: Theottle)
Toyota Celica render. (image: Theottle)

It feels like a long time ago now, but Toyota was once regularly chided for being among the world’s most boring car companies, at least in terms of its product, with the automotive giant putting driving engagement a distant — distant — second to sensible practicality across its range.

This is before the launch of the Toyota 86, of course. Back when a Camry was about the coolest model in the Japanese giant’s model lineup. Unless, of course, you had a penchant for Prius.

But those times have changed, not just through the launch of both generations of the Toyota 86, but also through the brand’s wildly improbable choice to focus on a proper performance sub-brand, which has already produced the GR Yaris and GR Corolla – both among the very best vehicles in their respective hot hatch classes.

Then there was the partnership with BMW on the reborn Supra (a twin of the German brand’s Z4), which injected new life into one of Toyota’s most storied nameplates.

The truly exciting news is that Toyota isn’t done yet, with reports now surfacing, and gathering in number, that say the brand’s long-touted "Three Brothers" sport car strategy is about to step up a gear through the reincarnation of yet another storied Toyota nameplate, the Celica.

Toyota’s Three Brothers strategy was first mentioned way back in 2019, when the brand’s global chief Akio Toyoda spoke of his plans to reintroduce Toyota’s three performance-car brothers, the MR2, the Celica and the Supra.

Enter, then, the MR2, which according to reports, is firming as a proper two-door, two-seat performance hero. The latest Japanese reporting points to that model being launched in 2026, and with an engine borrowed from the GR Yaris and GR Corolla.

The Supra exists already, of course. Which leaves only the Celica to make its comeback, and the latest reporting suggests it could be coming sooner rather than later. In fact, Japan’s Best Car Web suggests the model will make its debut, likely in concept form, at the 2025 Tokyo Auto Salon.

Interestingly, the Celica won’t be powered by Toyota’s GR engine, at least according to the reports. Instead it will deploy a new 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine producing an incredible 300kW. As reported by CarsGuide, the engine is rumoured to have been production ready for some time, just without an appropriate vehicle for it to live inside.

Better still, the Supra, Celica and MR2 will exist alongside models like the GR Yaris and GR Corolla, all of which puts Toyota a long way from dull old days and positions the Japanese giant as the new hero of driving enthusiasts.

And nobody saw it coming.

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to the Nissan Pulsar Reebok that shook like it was possessed by a particularly mean-spirited demon every time he dared push past 40km/h, his personal car history isn't exactly littered with gold. But that seemingly endless procession of rust-savaged hate machines taught him something even more important; that cars are more than a collection of nuts, bolts and petrol. They're your ticket to freedom, a way to unlock incredible experiences, rolling invitations to incredible adventures. They have soul. And so, somehow, the car bug still bit. And it bit hard. When "Chesto" started his journalism career with News Ltd's Sunday and Daily Telegraph newspapers, he covered just about everything, from business to real estate, courts to crime, before settling into state political reporting at NSW Parliament House. But the automotive world's siren song soon sounded again, and he begged anyone who would listen for the opportunity to write about cars. Eventually they listened, and his career since has seen him filing car news, reviews and features for TopGear, Wheels, Motor and, of course, CarsGuide, as well as many, many others. More than a decade later, and the car bug is yet to relinquish its toothy grip. And if you ask Chesto, he thinks it never will.
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