If you own or like the Toyota Yaris but think it could do with just a little bit more zing, then it’s your lucky day. The Japanese car manufacturer has just unveiled the GR Yaris at the Tokyo Auto Salon, a crazy three-cylinder pocket rocket created as homologation model for the brand’s World Rally Championship car. The only thing this hot hatch has in common with its more civilized sibling is the name, as it was designed and engineered from scratch by Gazoo Racing, which has big hopes for the little machine in this year’s WRC series. Two special editions can now be ordered by customers in Japan, with deliveries for the rest of the world hopefully following later.
The new GR Yaris not only looks like an angry little hatchback—with its widened wheel arches, double exhaust pipes and redesigned front fascia—it also packs a punch powerful enough to back up its appearance. Under that little hood sits a brand-new 1.6-liter three-cylinder DOHC direct-injection turbo engine that develops an incredible 268hp and 370Nm, the most of any three-cylinder powerplant in the world, according to the firm. Driving purists will love the fact that all this power is sent to the wheels with the help of a six-speed manual gearbox (although Toyota calls it an iMT, or Intelligent Manual Transmission).
Equipped with the GR-Four 4WD system, this 1,280kg homologation model is said to be capable of going from zero to 100km/h in less than five seconds, with an electronically limited top speed of 230km/h. Built by Toyota’s master craftsmen (or takumi) on a special GR production line at the Motomachi plant near Nagoya, the GR Yaris utilizes carbon fiber-reinforced polymers and aluminum to keep the weight down. Its roofline is 91mm lower than that of the standard model. The car also comes with three different driving modes: Normal, Sport and Track. Depending on which mode the driver selects from the dial next to the gearstick, power distribution between the front and rear wheels either stands at 60:40, 30:70 or 50:50, respectively.
Buyers in Japan can already preorder two special editions of the car online. The RZ “First Edition” comes with special matte-black paint on its front grille, front side diffusers, rear spoiler and rear bumper. It will set you back at least ¥3.96 million (P1.82 million). The second model is the higher RZ “High-Performance First Edition” that also comes with a Torsen limited-slip differential, an intercooler with cooling-spray function, and black BBS forged-aluminum wheels. This one will cost you at least ¥4.56 million (P2.10 million). No word yet on prices or delivery dates for the rest of the world, but we sure hope this wild hatchback will make it to our shores eventually.