The most exciting Toyota in decades has been confirmed for local release, with the GR Yaris coming to South Africa.
Although the company’s Yaris might not be the first thought that most automotive enthusiasts happen upon, the GR Yaris is very different.
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This three-door hot hatchback is significantly enhanced with a more powerful engine, stronger gearbox, and trick suspension bits.
Engineered by the same technical team that is responsible for much of Toyota’s motorsport programme, the GR Yaris is designed to offer an enormously rewarding drive.
As high-performance cars become heavier and less intuitive to drive, Toyota has opted for a more agile approach with the GR Yaris.
Beyond the bolder wheel arches and that fixed rear wing, this Toyota has some very impressive specifications. It is powered by a 1.6-litre three-cylinder engine, boosting 200kW and 370Nm.
Harnessing all that power is an all-wheel drive system with torque sensing differentials at both axles. This allows the GR Yaris to deliver its power with negligible wheelspin.
Cornering balance is further enhanced by a custom damper tune for all four shock absorbers. Meanwhile, Michelin Pilot Sport 4s 225/40R18 tyres deliver huge amounts of mechanical grip.
Driving purists will be thrilled that the GR Yaris is configured with a six-speed manual transmission, giving the driver complete control.
Toyota claims that its new hot hatchback will run the 0-100kph acceleration benchmark in 5.5 seconds, before powering on to a top speed of 230kph. A longer final drive ratio could have made the GR Yaris even faster, but the gearbox ratios were selected to provide terrific low- and mid-range acceleration, out of corners.
When does the GR Yaris come to South Africa?
Although Toyota did not market its previous Yaris GRMN hot hatchback in South Africa (despite importing three units as display vehicles), it will not be disappointing followers of the brand this time.
The Japanese company’s local office has confirmed that a limited allocation of GR Yaris will be available to South African customers in 2021.
Feature image: Toyota