First drive: Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch prototype tested
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 of 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 later 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.
Pre-orders have already 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.
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.
First drive: Toyota GR-Yaris hot hatch prototype tested