A New Look for Your MR2 Spyder

Name a fun, affordable and reliable mid-engine car? Sounds like a trick question, but the 2000-2005 Toyota MR2 Spyder hits that rare trifecta.


As you look at Spyder wheel options, you'll see wheels ranging in diameter from 15"-18". Although the Spyder can run 15", 16", 17" and 18" wheels, staying with a 15" wheel allows for broader tire selection and less rotational weight. 


The earlier (2000-2002) Spyders ran 15x6 45 mm offset (ET 45) front wheels and 15x6.5 ET 45 rear wheels. The lower the offset, the further "out" toward the fender the wheel moves. While some drivers might prefer the wider stance of lower offset wheels, our goal here is to maintain the car's original steering feel and tracking. So try and stay with wheels that are close (within 6 mm) of the Original Equipment wheel's 45 mm offset. This will minimize scrub radius change, while helping to preserve the car's go-kart handling and steering feel.

Although later (2003-2005) Spyders have 16" rears as Original Equipment, you can change to 15" rear wheels. Your wheel choice might not be available in a wider rear size, however it's okay to run the same wheel width front and back. The key to maintaining the car's overall handling balance is staying with the tire suggestions covered in detail at "Alternative Tire Sizes for Your MR2 Spyder."


In addition to the above considerations, find a wheel that meets your style preferences and a wheel finish that works well with your Spyder's body color. Go with the style and finish that you like.

Personally, I am a fan of the 15x6.5 ET 42 Enkei Performance Series GT7 in either hyper silver or black on 185/55R15 front and 205/50R15 rear Yokohama S.drive tires.

15x6.5 ET42 Black Painted Enkei Performance GT7 $112**
Enkei Performance Series GT7 Black Painted
15x6.5 ET42 Hyper Silver Painted Enkei Performance GT7 $120**
Enkei Performance Series GT7 Hyper Silver
185/55-15 Front $70** & 205/50-15 $89**Rear Ultra High Performance Yokohama S Drive

Create a Tire & Wheel Package for your vehicle today!


Wednesday, October 26, 2016 by Jim

Thanks for the awesome write-up Cy.

I have a 2002 Spyder that I am looking to buy a wheel/tire combination for. I will use the new set for some occasional autoX runs and for spirited driving, but will swap back to my all seasons for the rest of the time.

I am leaning heavily toward the Enkei 15" wheels with the Bridgestone Potenza RE71 195/50 tires in the front and 205/50s in the rear. It looks like the 195/50s are out of stock until late December. I can wait that long but is there another size or option that would work just as well?

Thursday, October 27, 2016 by Cy

Jim, thanks for your kind words.

Have you considered running 205/50-15 all around? Obviously this will make the car a little more loose (oversteer biased) but I've spoken to other spirited MR2 Spyders who've been happy with this set-up. I’d also recommend getting anecdotal feedback from other MR2 Spyder Autox’ers at:


Thanks. Cy.
Monday, November 7, 2016 by Jim

Thanks Cy, I will look into it further. I've gotten a lot of anecdotal information from local owners of these cars, but I don't know that any of them have actually tried a square setup. I was really squirming on the all seasons in the last autoX , but am a novice and want to keep the car well balanced.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 by Cy

[Originally submitted on Sunday, March 19, 2017 by Andres on the MR2 Spyder "tire" blog, moving here to the "wheel" blog]

Hello cy, I need help with finding the right tires. I want to go with the Enkei rpf1 15x7. The offset is probably going to be 41+ front and 35+ rear. I need help with tires size and which one to use. My first option of with was 205 front and 225 rears, but I'm guessing 225 with 7in rim won't be ideal, so maybe 195 and 205 or if 225 can work then 195 225? I also would like to have tires that are really good in the rain. I wonder if Toyo r1r are good in the rain and the Hankook rs4? Please help me! I'm up for any recommendations and would prefer feedback instead of going to the forms because I have been reading for hours! - See more at: http://blog.tirerack.com/blog/roll-on/improvise-adapt-and-find-alternative-tire-sizes-for-your-mr2-spyder#sthash.LJL00Bsz.dpuf
Thursday, March 23, 2017 by Cy


I wish we had a fleet of MR2 Spyders to test a few configurations at an autocross or track day but . . . we don't. Without that hard data feedback from Spyder drivers who've experimented with a few set-ups is still invaluable so please continue utilize Spyderchat forum as well.
That being said if your goal is to maximize dry performance in street, autocross and track with a neutral/oversteer handling bias while retaining competent wet grip I'd go with the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R in the 195/50-15 front & 205/50-15 rear tandem.

See them here:


Toyo R1R's are available in that combination as well but they simply don't have the grip of the RE-71R's.

The Hankook doesn't make the R-S4's in 205/50-15.


Monday, September 4, 2017 by Norman Lloyd

I have two options:
1. I have a really nice set of 15x6.5" rims.
which I would like to put 185/55 r15 tires on all-round. Will this cause problems, what with both front and rear having the same width (6.5")? What would recommend... I am a fair weather enjoyment driver - no track running.

2. I also have a set of 205/40 R17, running Yokohama B44. Rim width the same front and rear.
I like the traction on these, but the ride can be quite harsh. recommendations?
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 by Cy

Mr. Lloyd,

1) Why do you want to go 185/55-15 front & back? I would recommend going with on the above staggered (wider in the back) options discussed here:


So you can maintain the factory understeer bias.

2) We don’t carry a Yokohama B44 so we don’t have test or anecdotal data on it. I suspect much of the ride harshness is due to the shorter sidewall.



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