Toyota's GR Yaris revealed as a boosted, rally-ready hot hatch
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Just when we thought the golden era of homologated rally cars for the road had ended, Toyota decides to build a boosted three-door hatch that dominates the dirt as well as the track.
A few weeks ago, Toyota invited a select few to drive a near-production prototype of the all-wheel drive hatch in Portugal, where they got into the details on the road-going version of Toyota's 2021 World Rally Car.
From the first images that were released, it was obvious that Toyota had done something pretty special with the Yaris. The guards were wider, the body was shorter, and the wheel/tyre combo meant business.
To create the low-slung look of the body, Toyota completely redesigned the regular Yaris complete with frameless doors, and a 95mm lower roofline. To reduce weight, the roof, doors, bonnet and tailgate are all made out of aluminium here.
Adding to this weight reduction, the frame utilises carbon fibre components, and the rear torsion bar suspension system has been ditched from double wishbones. This makes for a lighter, and stiffer body.
At the business end of the hatch, a turbocharged 1.6-litre three-cylinder petrol engine takes care of the power. This has been mounted further back as to improve the weight distribution of the hatch, and packs a big punch.
Over 184kW and 350Nm of torque are the two important figures that this three-pot power plant boosts, but the final figures are still to be confirmed. Unlike most modern performance cars, a six-speed manual transmission will come standard, which will send power to all four wheels.
When it comes to power distribution, an all-new all-wheel drive system that ditches a centre diff has been installed. The three settings include Normal (60:40 front-rear split), Sport (30:70), and Track (50:50). Limited-slip differentials are an option from the factory.
Toyota will unveil the full specs of the 2020 GR Yaris at the Tokyo Auto Salon early next month, so stay tuned for more.