Toyota GR Yaris: A blistering hot hatch built for racing that is road-legal

Toyota’s exciting new GR Yaris’ 200kW/370Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine makes it the world’s most powerful mass-produced three-cylinder powerplant placed in a production car — and it is due to launch on South African soil in 2021.

Along with its aerodynamic styling and a new GR-FOUR permanent all-wheel-drive system, the GR Yaris sprints from 0-100 km/h in 5.2 seconds.

GR Yaris: Motorsport technology to world of the road car

GR Yaris is the first all-Toyota sports car and the company’s first approved model for WRC competition since the Celica GT-FOUR, and brings motorsport technology directly to the world of the road car through the combined design and engineering skills of Toyota’s title-winning Toyota Gazoo Racing (GR) and World Rally Championship teams, said Toyota SA.

Aerodynamic design and sports performance

As a bespoke three-door, the company says the low tapered side profile and wide squat stance of GR Yaris mark it as a serious performance car.

It also features a Toyota-first carbon-fibre roof and aluminium panels for the bonnet, doors and tailgate.

“The lightweight, compact 200kW turbo engine adopts motorsport technologies to deliver an exhilarating drive experience, including multi oil-jet piston cooling, machined intake ports and large-diameter exhaust valves.”

It is also equipped with direct and port fuel-injection, high-speed combustion, a single scroll ball-bearing turbocharger, an aluminium oil cooler and a large-capacity water pump and air cleaner.

Coupled to a six-speed intelligent manual gearbox (iMT) with rev-matching on up and down shifts, the GR Yaris has a top speed is 230km/h.

Agile handling

The GR Yaris has a new, dedicated platform that combines the front end of Toyota’s GA-B platform (Yaris) with the rear of the GA-C platform (Corolla).

“This accommodates a new suspension design and GR-FOUR all-wheel-drive system, while also contributing to the car’s excellent stability and handling. The system will adjust torque split automatically based on driver inputs, vehicle behaviour, and road or track conditions.”

The company says “every element of the new fully independent front and rear suspension setups” has been optimised for performance, including high-response shock absorbers.

A multi-link rear suspension, in contrast to the torsion beam layout in the standard Yaris, is also more rigid with new upper arms and stiffer settings for optimal responsiveness, handling and traction in high-speed cornering.

Driver-focused interior

The driver-focused cabin offers a small-diameter leather-wrapped steering wheel with fingertip controls, leather-wrapped short-throw gear shifter and handbrake, and aluminium pedals.

Large ‘speedo’ and ‘tacho’ dials sit either side of a 4.2-inch multi-information display that offers an array of details including turbo pressure and gear-shift indicators. The adjustable driver’s seat and tilt-and-telescopic steering column contribute to an ideal seating position.

Two rear seats are split 60/40 – to expand the 141-litre luggage space.

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Lohit Soundarajan

Founder , Editor Tech Guy #Voxguy

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