The noble, bedraggled action of assemblage antagonism has been amenable for abounding roadgoing achievement heroes. Cars such as the Audi Quattro, Lancia Delta Integrale, Ford Sierra RS and Escort RS, Toyota Celica GT4, and the Subaru WRX were all built-in of manufacturers accepting to body streetgoing adaptation of their racers. But aback the homologation claim for a acceptable Apple Assemblage Championship car to be based on a accessible agent concluded in 1997, the articulation was broken.
Until now, that is. The Toyota Yaris GR isn’t a roadgoing WRC car, but it does get impressively close, accepting been created by Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s centralized motorsports arm. It is the aboriginal artefact built-in of Toyota bang-up Akio Toyoda’s affirmation that his company’s acknowledgment to best ambulatory and that motorsports should accept absolute appliance to the company’s products.
We collection the Yaris GR in England, on clammy and arced anchorage about altogether ill-fitted to demonstrating the talents of this all-wheel-drive hot hatch. Sadly, there are no affairs to accompany the Yaris GR to the United States. Customers didn’t absolutely band up to buy the Mazda-based Yaris afore it was agilely alone from the lineup. But we will see a adaptation of this all-wheel-drive powertrain in a U.S.-bound achievement archetypal bigger ill-fitted to American tastes.
There accept been motorsport-inspired versions of the Yaris before—we collection the supercharged GRMN in 2018—but the GR is radically different. Above its name, the two-door GR has actual little in accepted with the European Yaris or the above American Yaris. Although its wheelbase is the same, it sits on a Franken-platform adaptation of Toyota architecture. The Yaris GR combines the approved Yaris’s front-end anatomy with a rear area fabricated application the GA-C architectonics that underpins Corolla and C-HR. The rear abeyance has high and lower ascendancy accoutrements and a radically added clue width, additional there’s an underfloor adit to amalgamation the all-wheel-drive system’s driveshaft. The alone genitalia aggregate amid GR and Euro Yaris are the headlights, appendage lights, ancillary mirrors, and the antenna on the roof.
The Yaris GRMN from a few years ago acclimated a supercharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder agent acquainted by Lotus. Despite accident a butt and some displacement, the GR’s agent boasts added ability than the GRMN’s four. The turbocharged 1.6-liter three-cylinder is carefully accompanying to the one acclimated in the inferior Apple Assemblage Championship 2, and its 257 application makes it the best able assembly three-pot in the world. No attack has been fabricated to adumbrate its turbocharged character. It is afraid and laggy at low revs with an animation to its ability commitment as turbo addition builds. It sounds great—like abounding three-bangers, it about has the aural appearance of a V-6 aback formed hard—and it pulls actively to a 7200-rpm redline.
The best assemblage cars accept torque-juggling alive centermost differentials and consecutive gearboxes. Toyota has kept things simpler in the GR with a six-speed chiral transmission, and it has one of the nicest about-face accomplishments we can bethink from a transverse-engine layout. Torque diverts aback through an electronically controlled clamp backpack at the aback of the transmission. This is agnate in assumption to the Haldex arrangement best associated with Volkswagen Group products, but Toyota’s boasts a lighter clamp and abiding engagement. The GR is all-wheel drive all the time.
Toyota overdrives the rear axle, which allows the front-rear torque breach to be biased by either bottomward or agreeable the rear clutch. There are three modes: Accustomed sends 60 percent of torque forward, Action changes the antithesis and dispatches 70 percent rearward, and Clue splits the torque equally. Open differentials are accepted at anniversary end, but an alternative Circuit Backpack swaps these for Torsen limited-slip differentials and additionally brings artificial 18-inch admixture auto with Michelin Pilot Action 4S summer elastic and a stiffer suspension.
Even able with the Circuit Pack, the GR doesn’t accept an antithesis of activating aggression. The council is added than Toyota’s accustomed acceptable akin of assistance, but the GR doesn’t accept the darty responses that anatomy engineers generally use to announce enthusiasm. The arbor delivers proportional responses and makes accurateness easy, acceptance the able all-wheel-drive arrangement to shine.
In Accustomed mode, the GR feels like an extra-agile hot hatch, actuality powered to the bend of front-end breakaway and again brought aback assimilate a called band with a hardly eased burke while still advancement traction. Toyota admits the rear-biased Action approach has been advised for apart surfaces as abundant as adamantine ones; it gives a audible back-end bent after axis the GR unruly. Despite its name, the 50/50 breach in Clue approach absolutely feels best ill-fitted for use on glace British asphalt, accumulation huge anchor with a near-perfect antithesis amid anniversary axle.
A close ride manages to abstain actuality abusive. The GR doesn’t accept adaptive dampers or any switchable activating modes above its torque bias. At low speeds the Circuit Pack’s stiffened springs did prove accomplished at accumulative apparent imperfections, but as both acceleration and endless acceleration the anatomy is added pliant, administration alike big bumps and camber changes after complaint. The anchor pedal lacks compactness but is appropriately placed to acquiesce heel-and-toe downshifts. The GR additionally gets a defeatable rev-matching arrangement of certain accuracy.
Despite the absolute differences amid it and the European Yaris, the GR feels agnate from the driver’s seat. The instrumentation, switchgear, and aphotic plastics are all familiar. Equipment levels are good, including an 8.0-inch touchscreen, adaptive cruise control, auto-leveling LED headlights, and sports seats. The rear bench is abundant tighter than it would be in the approved Yaris, with admission fabricated awkward by bound allowance and the bulging driveshaft tunnel. And one aberrant omission: Unlike the approved Yaris, the GR doesn’t accept a rear wiper. That’s article you’d apprehend from a assemblage car, and it’s nice to accept aback the assured English rain begins to fall.
In an acrid aberration of fate—given its acumen for being—the one affair the Yaris GR will absence is a competition-spec sibling. Toyota’s 2021 WRC aspirant was set to be based on the Yaris GR, but COVID-19 acquired testing to be halted. The aggregation will be application the earlier four-door Yaris WRC for addition division afore the accession of amalgam regulations in 2022 requires an all-new car. Still, it’s acceptable to apperceive that Toyota cares about cars such as this one. Now let’s achievement the closing U.S.-bound GR keeps the spirit that makes this Yaris feel so special.
2020 Toyota Yaris GR
VEHICLE TYPE front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
BASE PRICE (UK) Base, $36,276; Convenience Pack, $38,933, Circuit Pack, $40,530
ENGINE TYPE turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 12-valve inline-3, aluminum block and head, anchorage and absolute ammunition injectionDisplacement 99 in3, 1618 cm3Power 257 hp @ 6500 rpmTorque 266 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
DIMENSIONS Wheelbase: 100.8 inLength: 157.3 inWidth: 71.1 inHeight: 57.3 inCurb weight (C/D est): 2900 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST) 60 mph: 5.0 sec100 mph: 11.8 sec1/4 mile: 13.4 secTop speed: 143 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST) Combined/city/highway: 28/25/33 mpg
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