This week Toyota unveiled a three-door, three-cylinder, 200kW Yaris. Of course, it’s officially called the Toyota GR Yaris. It’s unapologetically a rally car for the road, designed as the official homologation model for Toyota’s next WRC race car. 


It’s built from a combination of lightweight materials, including carbon-fibre polymer and aluminium, all in a bid to achieve a 156kW/tonne power-to-weight ratio. 

Serious performance design tune-ups


Designed in part by Toyota’s WRC racing partner, Tommi Mäkinen Racing, this little hatch features some serious performance design enhancements. 

Racy 200kW rally-bred Toyota Yaris a ‘serious little machine’_1
Image: Supplied


Starting with weight, the GR-Yaris curb weight is a cool 1 280kg. Then of course, power comes from a seriously tuned 1.6-litre, three-cylinder turbo engine that’s good for the quoted power figures above and 370Nm of torque.


The most exciting news of all — if you’re a performance car junkie — is that the GR-Yaris sports a six-speed manual transmission AND permanent all-wheel-drive. 

A first in decades

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Image: Supplied


This is the first all-wheel-drive sports car from Toyota since 1999 when it developed the Toyota Celica GT_FOUR. Celebrating this, the new GR-Yaris has adopted the same name plate on its rear boot lid, leaving you in no doubt that this is a serious little machine. 


The AWD system is all-new, built lighter and with more flexible usability. Theoretically, the system can shift 100% bias to the front or to the rear, for a wider application of scenarios.


Using a switch on the control panel, drivers will be able to vary the torque distribution depending on the need. 

Lower, wider, menacing is the word

Racy 200kW rally-bred Toyota Yaris a ‘serious little machine’_3
Image: Supplied


The GR-Yaris sits 91mm lower at the roofline, features frameless doors and has a wider rear track contributing to a more aggressive and more racy stance. 18-inch alloys sit just below flared and sculpted wheel arches with the red-and-black Gazoo Racing branding visible from every angle. 

Startling performance figures


Quoted performance figures for the Toyota GR Yaris are startling: 0-100km/h in under 5.5 seconds with a top speed of 230km/h. 


There is no news on whether the car will be introduced locally, but Toyota SA is currently reviewing this as an option.


It would be a shame if the car does not make it here, especially after the successful introduction of the new Toyota GR Supra and after teasing local media with the limited-edition Toyota Yaris GRMN in 2018.