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.
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