Recently spotted at the Nurburgring was a Toyota GR Yaris that’s angrier and looking little more butch. It would seem the automaker’s Gazoo Racing performance division aren’t quite done with their AWD mega hatch just yet.
The simple fact that Toyota went so far out of their way to engineer - essentially from scratch - a road-going rally car is enough of a miracle, but the prospect that there’s even more insanity to be extracted from that rally-bred chassis and driveline is an exciting one indeed.
They aren’t exactly making this hotter GR Yaris’ upgrades a secret, seen on the German track without any sort of camouflage or means of obscuring the alterations. Though we don’t know what they mean, the test unit here has a much lager rear wing, canards on either side of the front bumper, and rather pronounced brake ducts.
Apart from the aero tweaks, there’s also some mismatched wheels which suggests a new lightweight alloy package might be introduced as an option. Most likely these will also be paired with some bespoke tyres. The GR Yaris sold to Malaysian buyers wears the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S that comes with the Circuit Pack, which is typically an optional extra.
Speaking of speculation, we’ve no clue if any mechanical changes have been made. Under that bonnet, the standard car produces 260PS and 360Nm from its 1.6-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. However, 3rd party tuners have easily brushed past 350hp with not much more than an ECU remap, we know this motor has plenty more performance in reserve.
A more pessimistic interpretation of this appearance of a more aggressive GR Yaris spotted in the midst of testing would be to assert that it’s merely for incoming official performance parts, perhaps even under the TRD banner. Yuck.
However, there’s still the possibility that Gazoo is still pushing the envelope with this platform. Should this be the case, we might soon have a faster, more hardcore AWD hatchback to look forward to - perhaps one that will be quickest to ever lap the Green Hell?
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.