When we think about upgrading from a basic car to something that is fun, there’s no better place to start with than a hot hatch. For those looking for something new, Toyota has just revealed the new GR Yaris, developed by Gazoo Racing with learnings from WRC. It is in fact, a homologation model for WRC.
The GR Yaris sits on top of the new Yaris range. The first thing you’d notice is its wider tracks and flared wheel arches. According to Toyota, it is built on a new, dedicated platform that combines the front end of the GA-B platform – debuting in the new Yaris – with the rear of the GA-C platform.
The hot hatch measures 3,995 mm long, 1,805 mm wide and 1,460 mm tall. It has a wheelbase of 2,558 mm. The body shell is constructed predominantly from lightweight materials, including a new carbon fibre polymer for the roof that can be compression moulded. Aluminium is used for the bonnet, doors and tailgate. As a result, the GR Yaris has a kerb weight of 1,280 kg (2,822 lbs).
The hot hatch rides on 18-inch alloy wheels. The performance braking system features large, 356 mm grooved front discs with four-pot calipers. Buyers can upgrade their GR Yaris with an optional Circuit Pack which includes a Torsen limited-slip differential on both front and rear axle, performance-tuned suspension and 18-inch forged alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4s 225/40 tyres.
The new GR Yaris is AWD as well. The GR FOUR system is claimed to be significantly lighter. The driver can adjust the all-wheel drive performance to suit their preference or driving situation via a mode dial in the centre console. In normal mode, the torque distribution is 60:40; in Sport mode, the balance shifts to the rear with 30:70 distribution for some fun on winding roads and circuits; and in Track mode, the setting is 50:50.
The all-black interior looks equally sporty with red contrast stitching, sporty seats, sporty pedals, and of course, the GR badges. There’s a JBL audio system too.
As for the business end of the story, the new GR Yaris is powered by a new G16E-GTS 1.6-litre (1,618 cc) 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that puts out 192 kW (261 hp) and 360 Nm (266 lb-ft) of torque. The engine features multi-oil jet piston cooling, large-diameter exhaust valves and a part-machined intake port.
The engine is paired with a 6-speed manual transmission. The GR Yaris is claimed to accelerate from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 5.5 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 230 km/h (143 mph).
There’ll be a special ‘RZ First Edition’ and ‘RZ High-performance First Edition’ models at launch with visual upgrades; the latter seems to get 200 kW (272 hp) and 370 Nm (273 lb-ft) of torque, which is a bit more than the ones mentioned above. The aforementioned special models are available only through pre-order, and are expected to be priced at 3.96 million yen ($36,170) and 4.56 million yen ($41,650), respectively.
It appears that the GR Yaris will be on sale only in Japan and Europe.