The countdown begins
GR Yaris: the countdown begins
The GR Yaris has to be one of the most keenly anticipated road cars to emerge in 2020, and it is heading to South Africa!
Essentially a rally car for the road, the GR Yaris has a thoroughbred racing pedigree, thanks to the design and engineering skills of Toyota's title-winning TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and World Rally Championship teams.
At the heart of the little race car is the world's most powerful mass-produced three-cylinder powerplant, a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine that produces a scarcely believable 200kW of power and 370Nm of torque. This equates to 156kW/tonne in the all-important power-to-weight ratio, giving the lightweight (1280kg) firecracker the ability to speed from 0 – 100km/h in just 5.2 seconds! Driving enthusiasts will also be thrilled to hear that GR decided to use a six-speed manual gearbox for this car, keeping it even closer to its racing roots.
In creating the GR Yaris, Gazoo Racing has not simply slipped a potent powerplant into the engine bay of a standard Yaris. Far from it: the GR Yaris has been developed from the tarmac up and features a bespoke three-door, the low tapered side profile and wide squat stance. In fact, the GR Yaris shares just three exterior components with the standard vehicle – headlights, taillights and mirrors! The bonnet, doors and tailgate are all aluminium to save weight, while the roof is carbon-fibre – a Toyota first.
Even the GR Yaris platform is unique, combining the front end of the Yaris platform (GA-B) with the rear of the Corolla (GA-C). This allows the GR Yaris to accommodate a new suspension design and GR-FOUR all-wheel-drive system, and the results are a car with exceptional stability and handling.
The GR-FOUR all-wheel-drive system is driver-adjustable: in Normal mode it sends 40% of torque to the rear wheels; in Track mode it sends 50% of torque to the rear wheels, and in Sport it sends 70% of torque to the rear wheels. The system will adjust torque split automatically based on driver inputs, vehicle behaviour and road or track conditions.
To ensure that every driver of a GR Yaris is constantly aware of how special their steed is, the interior has a number of unique elements: a small-diameter leather-wrapped steering wheel with fingertip controls, leather-wrapped short-throw gear shifter and handbrake, and aluminium pedals. Then there are over-sized speedometer and tachometer dials sitting on either side of a 4.2-inch multi-information display where the driver can read details such as turbo pressure and gear-shift indicators. The driver and the front passenger accommodated in premium sports seats, while the rear seats give a nod to the family driver with ISOFIX anchor points.
And finally, the question all of you have been asking: when will we see a GR Yaris in South Africa? If everything goes according to plan, it will land in South Africa in mid-2021. Exact specifications will be released closer to the launch date.