Toyota launch extensive 'GR' spors car series
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After teasing the world with the Yaris GRMN earlier this year, Toyota's intentions of changing its perception to an exciting performance brand have taken another step forward with the announcement of a new 'GR' sports car series.
I won't lead you on - these cars are for the Japanese market only.
But this new range does signal that Toyota is serious about creating performance versions of their models. It's also worth noting that these new GR cars will be built in greater numbers than earlier models, and will be supported by an expanded Japanese dealer and 'GR Garage' network - suggesting that this isn't just some flash in the pan.
The new 'GR' series has also caused a realignment of Toyota's performance hierarchy in the Japanese market, which is now made up of four tiers.
At the top of the range sits 'GRMN' models like the Yaris that debuted at Geneva this year. GRMN vehicles are the most highly-tuned examples you can buy, featuring a range of performance upgrades, including engine and exhaust, to create cars that will challenge the best from around the world in various segments.
Bellow that will sit the new 'GR' series (formerly known as the G line) which feature upgrades to brakes, suspension, differentials, aero kits an interior trim - but engines will remain stock.
The 'GR Sport' series sits underneath, and is made up of of models that feature a few suspension tweaks and cosmetic enhancements.
Finally, there's a 'GR Parts' range that allows customers to pick and choose from a menu of parts.
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Toyota's new announcement will see new performance models at each level in the Japanese market.
The Yaris will launch in GRMN, GR and GR Sport spec. the GR range will also include Prius, Harrier (Lexus RX in New Zealand), Mark X sedan, and Voxy and Noah minivan models.
The most interesting new performance model is the 86 GR, which will arrive in Japanese dealerships with a full aero kit, Sasha shocks. Rays forged alloys, sports tailpipe, Torsen differential, six-pot brake calipers up front and four-pot in the back.
The cabin will receive numerous enhancements, too, most notably Racaro seats and a smaller steering wheel.
However as the model is a 86 GR, not a fully-fledged GRMN, power will come by way of the same standard 2.0-litre flat four as a GT86.
These models will be initially launched in Japan, but Toyota is said to be currently exploring options and plans to take this new performance range to other markets.
Hopefully we'll get to see them on the streets of New Zealand soon.