New Toyota GR Yaris: 257bhp hot hatch shown in Europe
Toyota GR Yaris
Rally-derived, four-wheel-drive performance machine revealed at Tokyo Auto Salon will reach UK this year
Toyota has shown the final version of the 257bhp GR Yaris hot hatch, the second model in its GR sports car line, in Europe for the first time.
The machine, which was developed based on knowledge from the firm’s World Rally Championship programme, was revealed at the Tokyo Auto Salon in Japan earlier this month and has now been shown at a Toyota brand event in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
The highly anticipated four-wheel-drive GR Yaris, which Autocar drove in camoflagued prototype form in Portugal last month, has been developed by Gazoo Racing in Japan as a ‘homologation special’ to aid development of the next-generation Yaris WRC. Tommi Mäkinen Racing, which runs Toyota’s WRC programme, had significant input into the model.
The GR Yaris joins the GR Supra in Toyota’s growing performance line-up. At the launch, Gazoo Racing boss Shigeki Tomoyama said: “While the new GR Supra is a sports car developed through track racing, the GR Yaris has been devised through our participation in rallies – something that many of our fans have been waiting for.”
The GR Yaris is built on a special four-wheel-drive version of Toyota’s TNGA architecture, with the front end of the GA-B small car platform – as used on the new Yaris – and the rear from the GA-C, as used on the larger Corolla.
Compared with the regular Yaris, the new machine has an entirely different body, with a lower roof, three doors instead of five and significantly reworked bodywork to aid aerodynamics.
The GR Yaris is 3995mm long and 1805mm wide, with a wheelbase of 2558mm. The front track is 1530mm and the rear track is 1560mm.
The bodywork makes extensive use of carbonfibre polymer and aluminium to reduce weight. It also includes a substantially wider rear track than the regular Yaris, along with new double-wishbone rear suspension. Kerb weight is 1280kg.
Only limited technical information was available when Autocar drove the GR Yaris, but Toyota has now confirmed that the turbocharged 1.6-litre three-cylinder engine will produce a maximum of 257bhp and 265lb ft.
The engine is mated to a six-speed ‘Intelligent Manual Transmission (IMT) gearbox, with permanent four-wheel drive delivered by Toyota’s new GR-Four system. This uses a multi-plate clutch and can vary power to all four wheels, with three preset levels of torque distribution, including a wholly rear-biased one. The GR Yaris features 356mm grooved front disc brakes that utilise four-pot calipers.
The GR Yaris sits on 18in wheels and Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres, with stickier Michelin Pilot Sport 4s coming with the optional Circuit Pack, which also features a Torsen limited-slip differential on both axles and tuned suspension.
The GR Yaris is due on sale in the UK in the second half of this year. Pre-orders have opened for the hot hatch in Japan, where it’s being being offered initially in limited-run RZ First Edition and RZ High Performance First Edition guises. Both models feature bodywork styling tweaks and elements, along with other design features.
UK prices haven’t yet been set, but the RZ First Edition is set to cost 3.96 million yen, or around £27,700, in Japan.
The GR Yaris will be produced on a dedicated Gazoo Racing line at Toyota’s production facility in Motomachi, Japan, that uses a large number of manual processes.