This article is concerned with the effect of the inherent matrix properties (matrix molar mass and crystallinity) as well as the temperature on the impact behaviour of rubber toughened semicrystalline polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The dispersed phase consists of a blend of an ethylene-co-propylene rubber (EPR) and a copolymer of ethylene and 8 wt% glycidyl methacrylate (E-GMA8) acting as a compatibilising agent, leading to PET/(EPR/E-GMA8) blends. The influence of the matrix molar mass on the impact behaviour of rubber toughened PET is found to primarily originate from its effect on the blend phase morphology, rather than from an inherent effect of the molar mass itself. The dispersed phase particle size is seen to decrease with increasing PET molar mass. A direct correlation between the impact strength and the interparticle distance could be established. A critical interparticle distance (IDc) of 0.1 mum could be determined, independent of the PET molar mass. The brittle-ductile transition temperature (T-bd) of the blends with a varying matrix molar mass also displayed a strong correlation with the interparticle distance, independent of the matrix molar mass. However, this correlation appears to depend on the crystalline characteristics of the PET matrix material since an incompletely crystallised PET matrix leads to an increase of the Tbd. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.