Confirmed to make its eagerly awaited debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon next month, new details of the four-wheel-drive Toyota Yaris GR-4 have emerged at a commissioned prototype sampling this past week.
According to Britain’s Autocar who attended the event, the GR-4 will serve as a homologation model for Toyota’s entering of the new Yaris into the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2021, with input of the road-going model having come from current Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC boss and four-time champion, Tommi Mäkinen’s racing division.
As per already seen teaser images and videos, the GR-4 will be offered as a three-door model only, similar to the previous generation GRMN, and receive wider wheel arches and door sills, a slightly lowered roofline, red brake calipers and black alloy wheels with development Head, Naohiko Saito, stating that weight saving played in a significant part in the model’s developing.
“When we asked for three doors, everyone disagreed, because it meant a new body. We had to fight for it, but we finally got it,” Saito told the publication before indicating that the bumper can be pushed upon using one finger in an effort to cut down on weight.“If you can flex it, customers might think it’s cheap – but to have a lighter body, customers will accept it,” he said.
Underneath, the GR-4 will feature the same wheelbase and GA-B platform as the regular Yaris, but with a MacPherson strut front suspension and dual wishbones as the rear. Boasting the same ride height as the standard model to reduce weight, the GR-4 comes without a centre differential with Toyota opting for a front and rear axle coupling design instead. It will however offer the option of three driving modes; Normal, Sport and Track.
In a confirmation of previous reports, the GR-4 will be powered by a three-cylinder turbocharged engine, but which will displace the same 1.6-litres as the WRC Yaris and not 1.5-litres as the regular model.
An engine bespoke to the GR-4 and completely brand new with Saito claiming it to be the lightest and most powerful 1.6-litre motor in production today, the blown three-pot will produce a reported 184kW/350Nm, an uptake of 29kW/100Nm over the GRMN’s 1.8-litre supercharged four-cylinder.
Like its predecessor, the GR-4 will only have the option of a six-speed manual gearbox as the inclusion of an automatic would have added more weight. At present, no final performance figures have been announced.
According to a related report from Australia’s motoring.com.au, a GRMN model has not been ruled out entirely with an alleged product insider stating that aluminium and carbon fibre could be included to reduce weight to below 1 300 kg, while lighter alloy wheels, composite rear windows and deletion of the rear seats and air-conditioning have also been mulled.
At the same time, GRMN will receive a substantial power hike with the online publication claiming it could produce as much as 225kW/400Nm and reach 0-100 km/h from naught in “less than five seconds”. Top speed could be as high as 270 km/h.
Expect more details of the GR-4 to be revealed in the coming weeks leading up to its unveiling in Tokyo on 10 January.