Toyota has by no means totally dedicated to the concept of creating a bona fide sizzling hatchback earlier than, preferring as an alternative to ship a sequence of competent however hardly mind-altering heat hatchbacks through the years. However this new restricted version, £26,295, 209bhp Toyota Yaris GRMN is the exception to that rule. And there’s one quite simple motive why.
The Yaris GRMN is successfully a precursor to a complete new vary of quick Toyotas, all of which can be badged GR, which stand for Gazoo Racing. Assume AMG and also you’ll get an thought of the place Toyota needs to go together with the GR model over the approaching years.
There’ll solely ever be 600 Yaris GRMNs, all of them in the identical white and purple color scheme seen right here, and all to be inbuilt France at Toyota’s Motor Manufacturing manufacturing facility at Valenciennes. For Europe there can be 400 examples, round 100 of which is able to come to the UK in proper hand drive. One other 200 will go to Japan, once more inbuilt proper hand drive and the remaining 250-300 can be made in left hand drive and offered within the mainland European markets.
Energy comes courtesy of a supercharged 1.Eight-litre four-cylinder engine that’s all-but similar to the engine discovered beneath the rear bodywork of the Lotus Elise, albeit with a brand new exhaust and a few further cooling because of the Yaris’ diminutive proportions.
Most energy is 209bhp whereas max torque is a wholesome 250Nm, and all up the GRMN weighs simply 1,135kg. So it’s fast, with Toyota claiming a Zero-62mph time of 6.4sec plus a prime velocity electronically restricted to 143mph.
The gearbox is a six-speed handbook with no flappy paddle choice (hallelujah!). However it’s what Toyota’s motorsport engineers have accomplished to the GRMN’s chassis and working gear that arguably make the largest variations of all to the way in which it drives.
The springs are 60 per cent stiffer than these of a daily Yaris and the dampers (by SACHS) are rather more responsive all spherical, plus there are strut braces all through (entrance, rear and within the centre of the automotive) to take torsional stiffness to a different degree. On the entrance there is a new Torsen diff that massively improves traction and stability, and the brakes are additionally larger than these of a daily Yaris, that includes 275mm ventilated discs on the font and 278mm strong rotors on the rear. Likewise, the tyres are bespoke 205/45 ZR17 Bridgestone Potenza RE050As and, mixed, such enhancements present the GRMN with as a lot grip and dealing with composure because it has go, says Toyota.
Visually the automotive is distinguished not simply by its white and purple paint scheme however by a central rear exhaust, extra aggressive splitters entrance and rear and by an enormous roof spoiler on the again. Within the flesh it seems subtly purposeful. Identical goes for the inside, which incorporates a pair of massive buckets entrance seats and varied bespoke flashes of aluminium on the console plus a bespoke set of devices and a GR Racing badged starter button.
On the transfer the GRMN doesn’t disappoint. Certainly, in most areas it thrills to bits. Efficiency is powerful, occurring ballistic for a automotive that wears a humble Yaris badge, with actual efficiency and on the spot response from the supercharged engine accessible throughout the rev vary. Even from 2,000rpm it pulls onerous, and from there the acceleration stays robust and onerous all the way in which to the 7,000rpm rev lower out.
The six-speed gearbox additionally works properly, with snappy shifts up and down, an excellent clear response from the throttle to boost blips on downshifts and a light-ish clutch. What’s not so intelligent is the driving place, which is about just too excessive for many tastes, and particularly for a automotive as centered as this. Ideally we’d prefer to set the seat an excellent three inches decrease, even on its lowest setting.
What separates the GRMN and elevates it to a spot the place real fans may properly fall in love with it (regardless of the eye-watering price ticket) is the dealing with, and the chassis steadiness usually. True, the journey high quality is agency and should properly show to be a sticking level on a UK street (we drive the automotive on pretty easy roads and on a glass easy circuit in Spain) however the way in which the GRMN turns into after which sticks in corners is one thing of a revelation.
It’s a correct little driver’s automotive, with a contact of managed carry off oversteer in case you actually begin to throw it round, plus a wonderful set of brakes to go together with it. Grip is nice however not excessively so, with a contact of GT86 model gusto to its behaviour on or close to the restrict.
Total, we actually just like the Yaris GRMN, even whether it is heinously costly beside the perfect sizzling hatch rivals. As an indication of issues to return from Toyota’s new efficiency division, it’s a greater than welcome addition.