Toyota is going berserk with the GRMN Yaris, the meanest hatchback ever built

The 2021 Toyota GRMN Yaris is an upcoming high-performance version of the fourth-generation hatchback. Toyota has yet to confirm the GRMN Yaris, but word has it the Japanese brand is planning to introduce a range-topping GRMN version of its GR-badged cars in a variety of segments. What’s more, Toyota recently tested a beefed-up GR Yaris on the Nurburgring and its appearance hints at an upcoming GRMN variant.

Just like the GR model, the GRMN is being developed by Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division. However, development takes place under a more hardcore performance arm called Gazoo Racing Masters of the Nurburgring. The 2021 GRMN will arrive with a sportier exterior and various upgrades to the drivetrain. Let’s find out more about it in the speculative review below.

Exterior

  • front bumper canards
  • front fender intakes
  • massive rear wing
  • rally-inspired looks
  • menacing appearance
  • the most aggressive hatchback out there
2021 Toyota GRMN Yaris Exterior Spyshots
- image 941643

Test cars are usually camouflaged, but this time we got lucky and our paparazzi caught an undisguised car. The car needs some additional work, but we can spot a few upgrades compared to the GR Yaris. The front fascia is pretty much the same, with a massive grille in the center and vertical outlets to the sides. However, this prototype sports a pair of race-style winglets on each side. The upper winglet is notably long, stretching from the flared wheel arch to the big grille. The lower canard is a bit smaller across the corner of the bumper. Both elements seem to be mounted provisionally, so Toyota will probably make changes as development continues.

2021 Toyota GRMN Yaris Exterior Spyshots
- image 941648

Moving onto the sides, the front fender now incorporates a sizable vent behind the wheel arch. This feature likely draws air from the wheel arch to improve aerodynamics. The wheels feature new rims, but the rear rollers are covered by weird looking metal caps, likely also to test new aerodynamic properties. The rear of the hatchback is pretty identical to the GR Yaris, but the roof spoiler is now joined by a big wing. Inspired by rally racing, this wing is larger than on any other high-performance hatchback in production, so Toyota is aiming for a lot of downforce. The device attached to the bumper is connected to a computer to provide info on what this new aero package does.

All told, the GRMN Yaris looks really menacing. The update over the GR model isn’t massive, but the latter is already pretty aggressive for such a small hatchback, so the GRMN Yaris will stand out next to any hot-hatchback out there.

Interior

  • sporty look
  • flat-bottom steering wheel
  • some extra features
  • bucket seats?
  • rear-seat delete
2020 Toyota GR Yaris Wallpaper quality Interior
- image 879673

We weren’t lucky enough to take peek inside the cabin, but it’s safe to say that Toyota won’t make too many changes. The Yaris is a pretty basic car, so there isn’t much you can do.

The GRMN model will be very similar to the GR, so look for an all-black layout infused with Gazoo Racing details.

Maybe the steering wheel will finally feature a flat bottom, while the digital instrument cluster will boast a more aggressive race-style mode. A GRMN start-up screen for the infotainment display on the dashboard is also in the books. Toyota could also add a revised gear shifter and some new detailing on the door panels. Maybe some bright red stitching?

The GR Yaris already comes with sporty seats, but the Toyota may take things up a notch in the GRMN model. This means that the heavily bolstered seats in the GR could be replaced by race-spec buckets. Of course, the buckets could also be optional, while the standard seats could remain identical to the GR. Another big change could be a rear-seat delete. It could move the GRMN Yaris closer to Yaris WRC rally car, as well as help Toyota ditch some unnecessary weight for track driving. Rear seats could be optional for customers who also want to use it as a regular driver from time to time.

Drivetrain and performance

  • 1.6-liter three-cylinder
  • 280 horsepower?
  • lighter
  • 0 to 62 mph in five seconds
  • top speed at 143 mph
  • stiffer chassis
  • stiffer suspension
  • bigger brakes
  • unprecedented performance
2021 Toyota GRMN Yaris Exterior Spyshots
- image 941643

The GRMN Yaris will most likely share most drivetrain components, including the engine, with the GR Yaris. The latter comes with a 1.6-liter three-cylinder under the hood. This engine is fitted with a single-scroll turbocharger and motorsport-bred technology like multi-oil jet piston cooling, large-diameter exhaust valves, and part-machined intake port. These features are likely to remain unchanged in the GRMN Yaris, but the brand’s motorsport division could make more updates.

The GR Yaris comes with 257 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque on tap. Those are impressive figures not only for the subcompact hatchback segment, but also for a tiny three-cylinder engine. The GR Yaris is already significantly more popular than the previous Yaris GRMN, rated at 209 horses and 180 pound-feet of torque (an extra 48 horsepower and 85 pound-feet).

2021 Toyota GRMN Yaris Exterior Spyshots
- image 941651

It’s worth noting that the GR Yaris is already notably more powerful than the competition. Both the Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST come with 197 horses on tap, while the Hyundai i20 N is rated at 201 horsepower. This puts the GR Yaris atop the competition by more than 50 horsepower. The same goes for torque, with the closest rival, the Volkswagen Polo GTI, generating 240 pound-feet.

Given all of the above, should the GRMN Yaris have more oomph? Well, upgrades are always welcome, but more power and torque isn’t something the GRMN Yaris needs. Sure, Toyota could squeeze a bit more output from the tiny three-pot, but don’t expect huge improvements.

The 1.6-liter needs to remain reliable, so Gazoo Racing might keep it below 280 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of twist.

But even if the GRMN Yaris comes with the same output as the GR Yaris, it will still show improvements in other areas.

2021 Toyota GRMN Yaris Exterior Spyshots
- image 941650

The GRMN Yaris should be notably lighter than the GR Yaris. The latter tips the scales at 2,822 pounds, so the GRMN version could weigh less than 2,700 pounds. This will translate into a better power-to-weight ratio, which is immediately visible when it comes to off-the-line sprints. With the GR Yaris capable of hitting 62 mph from a standing start in 5.5 seconds, the GRMN Yaris could do it in less than five clicks. Top speed, on the other hand, should remain unchanged at 143 mph.

The improved power-to-weight ratio and aerodynamics should also translate into quicker lap times on the race track, as well as better agility in the corners. The GRMN Yaris could become the quickest front-wheel-drive car on the Nurburgring should Toyota attempt a benchmark.

Upgrades should also include a stiffer chassis and suspension, as well as bigger brakes with wear-resistant calipers and discs.

How much will the 2021 Toyota GRMN Yaris cost?

2021 Toyota GRMN Yaris Exterior Spyshots
- image 941642

The GRMN will become the range-topping model of the Yaris range, so it will the most expensive version of the hatchback. The GR Yaris starts from £29,995 in the U.K., so the GRMN variant will fetch notably more than that. My best guess is that the beefed-up Yaris will come in at around £36,000 before options. This sticker will make it one of the most expensive Toyotas available, with only the Land Cruiser and the GR Supra costing more. The bad news is that Toyota probably won’t bring the GRMN Yaris to the U.S.

Competitors

2021 Toyota GRMN Yaris Exterior Spyshots
- image 941646

The GR Yaris is already too powerful for the competition, so the GRMN Yaris will have no rivals to go against. This niche includes three more hot-hatchbacks, the Volkswagen Polo GTI, Ford Fiesta ST, and the Hyundai i20 N, and all of them are notably less powerful. And while they are suitable for track use, none is as radical as the upcoming GRMN Yaris. So unless Volkswagen, Ford, or Hyundai are working on more hardcore versions of their hatchbacks, the GRMN Yaris will become the hottest car in the subcompact segment.

Conclusion

2021 Toyota GRMN Yaris Exterior Spyshots
- image 941653

If the GRMN Yaris sounds like a crazy project, it’s because it is! Toyota is taking the GR Yaris up a notch, so not only it will be notably more powerful than any other subcompact hatchback, but it will also deliver unparalleled track performance and agility. Does Toyota actually need the GRMN Yaris? No, but it’s a cool way to showcase the potential of its Gazoo Racing division and to deliver a souped-up road car that’s somewhat based on the race-spec Yaris WRC. It’s a cool car to have, even if it will be offered as a limited-edition model only. Somewhat ironically, the GRMN Yaris will arrive after years of rumors that Volkswagen and Ford will finally release a Polo R or a Fiesta RS. They’re not here yet, but the Toyota is prepping a tiny monster with close to 300 horsepower!

  • Leave it
    • Very expensive
    • Will it have more power?
    • Not coming to the U.S.
Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

2020 Toyota GR Yaris

2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback

2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: