More information about the upcoming Toyota GR Yaris has surfaced, as the Japanese car maker invited a few select media for a quick drive in a near-production prototype of the all-wheel drive hot hatch.
As it turns out from the early impressions of Autocar and Evo magazine, the new Toyota GR Yaris will indeed revive the homologation special recipe, conceived as the road-going version of Toyota’s 2021 World Rally Car, as well as the R5 racing version.
From the first moment Toyota started teasing the upcoming GR Yaris, we knew that they were working on something special; the new Japanese hot hatch may look like a souped-up version of the normal city car but there are some pretty extreme changes here.
First, it’s the three-door body; Toyota created this shell exclusively for the Gazoo Racing model, complete with frameless doors and a 95mm lower roofline. Body panels like the roof, tailgate, bonnet, doors and front wings are made out of aluminum for less weight.
Then it’s the lightweight structure underneath; the basic platform is the same with the rest of the Yaris family, including the wheelbase, but the structure here utilizes carbon fiber and the suspension setup ditches the rear torsion beam for double wishbones. The end result is a body that’s not only lighter but also stiffer and more aerodynamic.
Under the bonnet lives an all-new turbocharged 1.6-liter three-cylinder petrol engine, which is mounted further back for better weight distribution. Toyota opted for three cylinders instead of the traditional four-pot, partly for homologating the 2020 R5 rally car. R5 Class cars will use three-cylinder engines from 2020.
Naohiko Sato, the lead engineer of the GR Yaris, claims that this is the world’s lightest and most powerful 1.6-liter production engine. How powerful you ask? While the final figures are still under wraps, Toyota says that it will offer over 247 HP (250 PS) and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) of torque. And contrary to the modern trends, the new Toyota GR Yaris will be offered only with a six-speed manual transmission.
The car’s all-wheel drive system is also new and it doesn’t feature a center differential, using instead clutch pack diffs front and rear with three settings: Normal (60:40 split, front-to-rear), Sport (30:70) and Track (50:50). Toyota will offer the option of limited-slip differentials front and rear as well.
The new GR Yaris will be the first true performance car Toyota has developed entirely in-house for almost two decades. Production is also going to be far less limited that the previous Yaris GRMN, which was basically a skunkworks project. The official reveal of the Toyota GR Yaris will take place at the Tokyo Auto Salon on January 10.