After months of teasers and spy shots, Toyota has finally revealed its new hot hatch homologation special, the 2021 GR Yaris, at the Tokyo Auto Salon Friday. Based on the world-market Yaris we don’t get in the States, it packs a turbocharged inline-three engine making a bonkers 268 horsepower, mated to a six-speed manual transmission and a trick all-wheel-drive system. It’s the modern homologation special of your fantasies.
Toyota says the GR Yaris was developed using knowledge learned from its years in WRC, where it currently fields two factory rally cars. Under the hood sits a 1.6-liter turbocharged, direct-injection three-cylinder making 268 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque, making it the highest-output production three-cylinder car ever, according to the company.
The engine is mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission—no automatics here, as it should be. Power is sent to all four wheels via Toyota’s new “GR-Four” all-wheel-drive system, which uses Torsen-style limited slip differentials front and rear. Power is distributed to each axle via an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch center differential with three modes: Normal, Sport, and Track.
There’s MacPherson-style suspension up front, and double-wishbone in the rear, with ventilated disc brakes all-around. The wheels are 18-inch BBS forged items, wrapped in 225-40 high-performance tires. Curb weight comes in at just 2821 pounds, and the wheelbase measures just over 100 inches. Sounds like a recipe for fun to us.
Toyota says pre-orders are already open in Japan, with a starting price of 3.96 million yen (around $36,000 at current exchange rates). Production will take place at the company’s Motomachi Plant, the same place where it built the legendary Lexus LFA.
Sadly, the only Yaris we receive in the U.S. is the one based on the old Mazda 2. The rest of the world gets the new global model in which the GR Yaris is based on. So it’s unlikely we’ll ever receive the car Stateside. Not surprising given our market’s disdain of hatchbacks and love of crossovers, but disappointing nonetheless.
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