Toyota has been promising for some time to release a hot hatch, and that’s just what it’s done at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show with the introduction of the new Yaris GRMN.
Tuned by the Japanese automaker’s performance division (Gazoo Racing, Masters of the Nürburgring), the hot new Yaris is envisioned as the road-going counterpart to the rally machine Toyota fields in the WRC.
Motivation comes, as promised, from a forced-induction 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. But where most of its rivals are turbocharged, the Yaris GRMN goes with a supercharger. 205 horsepower gallop as a result to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. No fancypants DSGs or trick all-wheel drive systems here.
True to the division’s name, the new hot hatch was honed on the Nürburgring Nordshleife. The suspension pairs short springs with Sachs shocks and a beefy anti-roll bar. It’s packed with additional bracing – including a structural bar under the hood between the front suspension towers – to the benefit of torsional rigidity and handling.
There’s a Torsen-style limited-slip differential to help get the power to the tarmac. And ventilated brake discs with four-piston callipers up front, packed into 17-inch BBS alloys, help keep everything in check.
The three-door bodystyle is wrapped in specific bodywork, with fresh bumpers front and rear, a roof spoiler, and rear diffuser, with a special red and black over white livery. Even the interior has been upgraded with racing buckets, a leather-wrapped steering wheel lifted from the Toyota 86, and aluminum pedals – all of which only serves to further emphasize the point that this is no ordinary Yaris.
It’s the first GRMN product that will be offered in Europe (or outside of Japan for that matter), but sadly doesn’t look likely to be offered in North America. Unfortunately pricing and performance stats have yet to be released, but these initial details put the Yaris GRMN in prime position to take on the likes of the new Ford Fiesta ST, VW Polo GTI, and Renaultsport Clio.