The supermini finally gets the horsepower it deserves

Introduced in 1999, the Toyota Yaris evolved into a strong competitor for the supermini market, gaining popularity thanks to its affordable sticker, roomy interior given the small size, cheap maintenance, and good fuel economy. But even though the Yaris has become significantly better with each generation, Toyota received a lot of heat for not developing a higher performance version. Now, critics can finally rest as the Japanese firm introduced the Yaris GRMN at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

Inspired by the Yaris WRC rally car built in cooperation with Gazoo Racing, the Yaris GRMN is the Volkswagen Polo GTi and Ford Fiesta ST competitor that Toyota enthusiasts have been requesting for years. Based on the 2017 upgrade for the standard Yaris, also unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, the GRMN has a sportier exterior highlighted by a unique front grille and foglamps, a more aggressive rear bumper with a center-mounted exhaust, a tailgate spoiler, and black and red paint accents. It also rides on 17-inch, BBS wheels.

Inside, the GRMN features sports seats designed for this car by Toyota Boshoku, a leather-wrapped steering wheel taken from the GT86, and aluminum sport pedals.

But arguably the most important feature of the car is the supercharged, 1.8-liter engine. Rated at "more than 207" horsepower and mated to a six-speed manual transmission, it promises to deliver "best-in-class times both for the sprint from nought to 100 km/h and acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h in fourth gear." Specific data is not yet available, but the GRMN needs to hit 62 mph in less than 6.5 seconds for this statement to be true.

The drivetrain is backed by a custom, reinforced chassis with additional bracing, a suspension system tuned through extensive testing at the Nurburgring track with input from Gazoo Racing, and a Torsen limited-slip differential. Shorter springs, dedicated shock absorbers developed with Sachs, a larger diameter front stabilizer bar, and performance brakes round off the package.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it Matters

Toyota Yaris GRMN Takes the Hot-Hatch Market by Storm High Resolution Exterior
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Toyota Yaris GRMN Takes the Hot-Hatch Market by Storm High Resolution Exterior
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While it’s definitely too early to say how the Yaris GRMN compares to the competition, it sounds like Volkswagen and Ford have a lot of things to worry about. Not only more powerful than the Polo GTi and the Fiesta ST, the GRMN also benefits from direct input from Toyota’s Gazoo Racing motorsport division. And if the success Gazoo Racing has had on the track in recent years is any indication, the Yarism GRMN should be very exciting to drive.

Read our full review on the Yaris GRMN here.

Press Release

The new Yaris GRMN is more than a simple hot hatch, it is a thoroughbred performance model that directly benefits from the engineering and tuning skills Toyota is developing in its motorsport programme. Powered by a new, 1.8-litre supercharged engine producing more than 210 DIN hp, it promises speed, poise and rich driver rewards.

Toyota Yaris GRMN Takes the Hot-Hatch Market by Storm High Resolution Exterior
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The new Yaris GRMN is an authentic, full-blooded and highly tuned hot hatch, inspired and influenced by Toyota’s return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2017 with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and the Yaris WRC after a 17-year break from the competition. The WRC is the pinnacle of the sport and is sure to provide Toyota with new challenges and opportunities to further develop its people, explore new technologies, and experience various road conditions around the world, helping it in its pursuit of making ever-better cars.

The motorsport influence is displayed in dedicated performance features that broadcast the car’s special qualities, both in its exterior styling and its driver-focused interior. It also sports unique paint finish – white with red and black flash detailing on the bonnet and sills, echoing the livery of the thoroughbred rally car.

Toyota called on its European teams to design the Yaris GRMN and develop its engine and interior, while responsibility for the chassis and braking system fell to colleagues in Japan. Production will be handled by Toyota Motor Manufacturing France’s plant in Valenciennes.

Although successful GRMN performance models have previously been sold in Japan, the Yaris GRMN is the first to be marketed in Europe, on sale from early 2018.

Supercharged engine

The Yaris GRMN is unique in the European hot hatch market in being powered by a supercharged engine. This highly responsive 1.8-litre unit will produce more than 210 DIN hp, driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission and enabling best-in-class times both for the sprint from nought to 100 km/h and acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h in fourth gear.

Chassis and suspension

To ensure the engine’s prodigious power is translated into a genuinely rewarding drive, the Yaris GRMN has a reinforced chassis with additional bracing, including an extra bar between the front suspension towers.

It benefits from suspension tuned through extensive testing on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife with significant input from Toyota GAZOO Racing’s motorsport activities, plus a Torsen limited-slip differential for better traction and handling. Shorter springs allow the car to hug the ground more closely and these are teamed with dedicated shock absorbers developed with Sachs and a larger diameter front stabiliser bar.

The car is also equipped with highly efficient performance brakes, with large ventilated discs and four-pot front callipers.

Toyota Yaris GRMN Takes the Hot-Hatch Market by Storm High Resolution Exterior
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Sports styling

The Yaris GRMN’s performance credentials are clearly broadcast in its styling. Offered exclusively in three-door form, it rides on BBS 17-inch multi-spoke alloys and is fitted with a bespoke, black wing-type rear spoiler.

The features included dedicated front and rear bumper designs, a rear diffuser and a distinctive centre exhaust tailpipe.

The cabin is an equal expression of the Yaris GRMN’s performance focus, with front sports seats designed specifically for the car by Toyota Boshoku, providing the best-in-class body holding and support.

The authentic performance details include a small-diameter, leather-wrapped steering wheel – shared with the GT86 – that incorporates a centre line mark to help the driver with accurate car positioning. There is also an aluminium sports pedal set and a redesigned combi meter that reflect the car’s special sporting character.

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