2020 Toyota GR Yaris 257 HP, AWD– A RALLY CAR FOR THE ROAD. It has the world’s most powerful three-cylinder engine installed in a road car.
The Yaris hasn’t exactly been the most exciting car in its segment, but Toyota changed our opinion about the supermini when it unveiled the supercharged GRMN back in 2017. A new generation of the subcompact hatchback debuted several months ago and it’s already getting the high-performance treatment courtesy of a GR version positioned below a very possible GRMN variant Toyota has already hinted at.
The pocket rocket is basically everything you’d want from a fun little car – lots of power, a manual gearbox, and all-wheel drive. With 257 hp on tap, the GR Yaris is equipped with the world’s most powerful three-cylinder engine installed in a road car. The turbocharged 1.6-liter mill is an all-new development and offers a massive peak torque of 360 Newton-meters (266 pound-feet) transferred to both axles through a six-speed stick shift.
Despite the addition of AWD as well as two Torsen limited-slip differentials, the GR Yaris weighs only 1,280 kilograms (2,822 pounds) and promises to offer a thrilling experience behind the wheel. It does the 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in less than five and a half seconds and will top out at an electronically capped 143 mph (230 km/h).
Introduced at the Tokyo Auto Salon, the feisty hatch takes advantage of Toyota’s WRC expertise and comes in a three-door form making use of carbon fiber polymer and aluminum to keep the weight low. There’s a newly developed double-wishbone rear suspension, a MacPherson strut front suspension, and a wider rear track compared to the regular Yaris. The roofline has been lowered by 91 millimeters (3.6 inches) to obtain a coupe-like silhouette, and there are frameless doors along with 18-inch alloys serving as telltale signs this isn’t an ordinary Yaris.
Drivers will get to play with a 4WD dial switch allowing them to pick between Normal, Sport, and Track modes. In Normal, front and rear torque distribution is split 60:40, while in Sport it changes to 30:70. Head to the circuit and turn on Track mode and torque will be split evenly between the two axles. It’s worth mentioning these represent the default settings as the 4WD system is automatically adjustable and can send the full torque to the front or rear wheels depending on the road conditions and the driver’s inputs.
Just so you understand how special the GR Yaris is, Toyota will build the car at its new Motomachi factory where there’s a special assembly line dedicated to GR cars. At home in Japan, there will be a First Edition priced at the equivalent of about $36,100 with several matte black body accents, while the $41,600 High-Performance First Edition will add BBS forged aluminum wheels and a richer equipment list.
As a final note, we should point out that while the European version is rated at 257 horsepower, the JDM-spec car is slightly more powerful, at 268 hp.
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