Toyota’s first all-wheel-drive performance car in 20 years, the GR Yaris, has made its debut at the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon.
As we covered in the most recent edition of Data Digest, the GR Yaris isn’t your run-of-the-mill hot hatchback. Rather, it doesn’t share a single part with its standard five-door counterpart, with a bespoke three-door layout and 91mm-lower roofline designed to save weight and streamline aerodynamics in preparation for a rally-prepped GR Yaris’ debut on World Rally Championship stages in 2021.
Even its platform is bespoke: the front of the car uses the regular Yaris’ GA-B platform, while the rear employs the GA-C architecture and its independent rear suspension used by the larger Corolla and Prius.
Under the bonnet of the road car is a 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine producing 192kW of power and 360Nm of torque – the most powerful three-cylinder ever fitted to a production car.
It’s worth noting those outputs are for European models, with the Japanese market scoring a more powerful 200kW/370Nm tune of the same turbo engine.
Drive is sent to all wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, enabling a 0-100km/h sprint time of under 5.5 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 230km/h.
The GR-FOUR all-wheel-drive system fitted to the GR Yaris – loosely based on that of the Toyota RAV4 – can send up to 100 per cent of the power to the front or rear axles, theoretically allowing full front- or rear-wheel-drive.
The system’s torque split can be varied between the three drive modes. In Normal it sits at 60:40 front-to-rear, Sport up the balance to 30:70, while Track evens it out to a symmetrical 50:50.
Stopping power comes from large sports brakes, measuring 356mm up front with four-piston calipers, and 297mm at the rear with two-piston calipers. They’re concealed by 18-inch black alloy wheels wrapped in 225mm Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres as standard.
An optional Circuit Pack is available in most markets, which fits lighter 18-inch alloys, grippier Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber, a sportier suspension tune and Torsen front and rear limited-slip differentials (replacing open units).
Toyota claims a 1280kg kerb weight for its all-paw hatch – just 63kg portlier than its closest size rival, the two-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta ST.
The cabin has been treated to a sporty makeover, with supportive Alcantara/leather bucket seats, GR-badged steering wheel and instruments, and a smattering of red accents.
The 2020 Toyota GR Yaris is set to land Down Under in late 2020, with production to commence later this year at a new ‘GR Production Centre’ in Motomachi, Japan, dedicated to manufacturing low-volume GR-branded sports cars.
Prices for the hot Yaris start from around AUD$53,000 in Japan – we’d wager Australian buyers will be hit with a similar sum.