Toyota has finally made a proper hot hatch in the name of the Yaris GRMN, which is also the first model coming out of their Gazoo Racing division.
Selecting a Yaris to be Europe’s first Gazoo Racing model might sound strange at first, but the engineers made sure that their new hot hatch will offer a thrilling driving experience.
The chassis is upgraded with extra bracing and a Torsen limited-slip differential, while the lower by 24mm suspension features shorter springs and fixed-rate Sachs dampers. A set of 17-inch BBS alloys, bigger brakes and a complete aero kit wrap up the changes.
As for the engine, Toyota opted for a supercharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder powertrain that makes 210hp and is paired to a six-speed manual gearbox. If the engine sounds somehow familiar, it’s because Lotus has been using the same unit in the Elise for some years now.
Toyota claims a 0-62mph (100km/h) in 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 143mph, which sounds fast enough to leave rivals like the Ford Fiesta ST and Peugeot 208 GTI in the dust. But the essence of a hot hatch is in the way it drives and Toyota makes bold claims about the new Yaris GRMN’s handling.
If you haven’t already placed an order for one, chances are that you won’t be able to get it as the Yaris GRMN is limited to just 400 units in Europe. Then again, the €29,900 sticker price in Germany makes it a significantly more expensive alternative to similarly-sized pocket rockets.
So what we’re left with is a first sign of things to come from Toyota’s Gazoo Racing. Is it a promising one? Auto Express delivers its verdict on the video that follows.