IT’S hot and it’s compact.
Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) takes a bold, and even risky move introducing an extremely niche vehicle in the middle of a sales glut and announced the arrival of the GR Yaris.
Wherever it was launched, the GR (for Toyota’s performance brand Gazoo Racing) the sports hatchback has been met with extreme anticipation from fans. This is because the car is the first all-Toyota sports car developed in more than 20 years–the last such model of the same pedigree is the Toyota Celica GT-4 used for World Rally Championship (WRC) which ended production in 1999.
The Yaris has similar genetics having been born from a collaboration with Gazoo Racing and title-winning World Rally Championship (WRC) team Tommi Mäkinen Racing. This has brought motorsport design and technology directly to the GR Yaris, which now holds homologation status for WRC competition since the end of production of the Celica GT-Four in 1999.
But why launch a performance model with a P2.65M price tag?
“It is about showing exceptional performance and agility,” says an executive of a Metro Manila Toyota dealership. “Even before the car was launched we have had pretty serious inquiries and even reservations. It goes to show how, even though limited is sales, such a car will continue to fan interest in the brand.”
In other countries where it has already been launched, availability is limited by production. In Australia for example, one of the first markets that got the GR Yaris, only 250 units were distributed at the start. In Japan, there are three variants of the sporty hatchback and TMPI has yet to confirm which specification will be available for the Philippines.
What is common however is the extensive use of aluminum for the hood, back door, and door panels, the upper body of the GR Yaris features a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic roof panel formed using the sheet molding compound method, which accommodates a high level of freedom in shape design. The robust three-door cabin fuses lightweight with outstanding aerodynamic performance.
By optimizing front and rear suspension settings, for example, through its participation in the WRC, Gazoo Racing has come to know the various types of roads around the world and has allowed for the greatest latitude for tuning the suspension.
Powering the GR Yaris is a DOHC 12-valve engine (two outputs–1.6-liter with turbocharger and 1.5-liter normally aspirated) that is mated to either an intelligent six-speed manual gearbox for the 1.6, or a Direct Shift-CVT (with 10-speed Sequential Shiftmatic) for the 1.5. Both gearboxes are engineered to accommodate higher-than-normal torque levels.
Knowing how the market reacts, PH version is likely to have the more powerful 1.6-liter G16E-GTS that outputs about 200 Kw and has a maximum torque of 370 Nm. Other motorsport technologies designed for maximum performance include multi-oil jet piston cooling, large-diameter exhaust valves, and a part-machined intake port.
It is said to accelerate to 100 kph in 5.2 seconds.
The GR Yaris has a racing car power-to-weight ratio of 156kW per ton. In videos released by fans globally, the car is shown to be able to keep pace with bigger sports cars. In its stock form, it is already one level above hot hatches in the compact and subcompact segments.
And if the PH does get any of the upper-end variant (RZ and RC) the local GR Yaris will have the GR-Four permanent all-wheel-drive system, Torsen limited-slip differentials on the front and rear axles, 18-inch BBS forged alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. Performance braking chores will be done by 356mm x 28mm ventilated front discs with four-pot calipers and 297mm x 18mm ventilated rear discs with two-pot calipers.
Production will be carried out at the Toyota’s Motomachi Plant–now called the GR FACTORY–where a dedicated production line has been established. Motamachi has a long and solid track record of manufacturing sports cars. There, preparations are being made for Takumi (master craftsperson) team members to assemble the cars.
Toyota also announced the return of its premier motorsports event, the Gazoo Racing Vios Cup and e-motorsports program, the GR GT Cup. Toyota Gazoo Racing gets even bigger in the country with the entry of the GR Yaris to the local market and plans are afoot for a racing event using the GR Yaris as soon as conditions allow it.
More details are available on toyota.com.ph/GRYarisiscoming. This includes a list of dealers who will be accepting reservations.
Main specifications and designations of the GR Yaris
|Grade||RZ “High-||(Japan specs)||RC||RS|
|Length x Width x Height (mm)||3,995 x 1,805 x 1,455|
|Tread [Front / Rear] (mm)||1,535 / 1,565||1,540 / 1,570||1,525 / 1,555|
|Vehicle weight (kg)||1,280||1,250||1,130|
|Engine||In-line 3-cylinder intercooler turbo||In-line 3-cylinder|
|Maximum output (kW[PS])||200 ||88 |
|Maximum torque (N･m[kgf･m])||370 [37.7]||145 [14.8]|
|Transmission||6-speed manual transmission (iMT)||Direct Shift-CVT (with 10-speed Sequential Shiftmatic)|
|Drive system||Four-wheel drive||Front-wheel drive|
|Differentials||“GR-FOUR” sports 4WD system Electronically controlled multi-plate clutch / 4WD mode dial switch (NORMAL / SPORT / TRACK)||―|
|Suspension [Front / Rear]||Strut / Double wishbone|
|Brakes [Front / Rear]||Ventilated disc / Ventilated disc|