The Toyota GR Yaris is set to make an appearance at the Thailand International Motor Expo 2020 show that will happen in Bangkok next month. According to Headlightmag, the made-for-WRC hot hatch will be open for bookings ahead of first deliveries in 2021.
Toyota’s first sports car to be fully developed in-house in two decades, the GR Yaris – which made its world debut at Tokyo Auto Salon this year – has a bespoke three-door body (the standard European-market Yaris is five-door only) and underpinnings.
It’s no chopped up regular Yaris – optimised for World Rally Championship aerodynamic regulations, it’s 60 mm wider (1,805 mm) and 45 mm lower (1,455 mm) than the regular hatch, while the trailing edge of the roof is actually 95 mm lower, allowing for a more efficient rear wing on the rally car. And despite having two fewer doors, the GR Yaris is actually 55 mm longer (3,995 mm). Only the lamps, door mirrors and antenna are shared with the 5dr supermini.
It’s also bespoke under the hood, where the most powerful three-cylinder engine in production resides. The G16E-GTS 1.6 litre turbocharged three-pot makes an amazing 272 PS and 370 Nm of torque, and is paired to a six-speed manual with a rev-matching function. The GR-Four AWD system ditches the heavy centre differential in favour of a multi-plate clutch in the rear differential to distribute torque to the front and rear wheels.
Pilots have three different settings for the torque split to choose from. In Normal mode, the car sends around 60% to the front wheels and 40% to the rear, whereas Sport mode has a 30:70 split to add some RWD handling characteristics. Track mode dials it back to a 50:50 split for maximum performance. The European Circuit Pack adds Torsen limited-slip differentials at the front and rear to shuffle torque from side to side.
This AWD system is the reason why Toyota has spliced up two of its platforms for the GR Yaris. The front end retains the same GA-B underpinnings as the Yaris, but the rear end uses the C variant from the Corolla and C-HR instead. This allows the fitment of double wishbones at the rear, making space for the differential and half shafts.
A good old manual handbrake replaces the Yaris’ electronic parking brake, and the rear axle is disconnected when it is pulled while moving to allow drivers to slide into a corner. Top variants, such as the Circuit Pack in Europe, throws in GR-badged red calipers, BBS alloys and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, along with stiffer springs and anti-roll bars, retuned dampers and tweaked power steering settings to take advantage of the extra grip.
All that (and with Toyota Safety Sense), and the GR Yaris tips the scales at just 1,280 kg. It won’t be cheap anywhere it’s sold though – in Germany for instance, the GR Yaris with the Circuit Pack is 36,740 euros (RM178,800), which is around the price of the FK8 Honda Civic Type R.
Thailand sudah, Malaysia bila lagi? UMW Toyota Motor had previously hinted at the car’s possible arrival here, so there’s chance for those with over RM300k to spend on a three-door hatch, albeit a very special one that doesn’t come around very often.
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