Toyota’s 200kW rally-inspired Yaris GR set for SA in 2021

By Jason Woosey Time of article published Dec 1, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - When Toyota pulled the covers off its hugely exciting new Yaris GR performance hatch earlier this year, the South African division told us that it was hoping to bring it to local shores too. And now we have something resembling a timeline, with TSA confirming that it is hoping to launch the GR in South Africa around mid-2021.

This little fire-cracker is no ordinary ‘hot hatch’. Essentially created as a homologation model for the next-generation WRC car, the Yaris GR is a rally car for the road featuring all-wheel drive and the world’s most powerful production three-cylinder engine.

The GR’s purpose-built 1.6-litre, three-cylinder powerplant produces 200kW at 6500rpm and 370Nm from 3000 revs. Despite the AWD system the car weighs a mere 1280kg, thanks to the extensive use of lightweight materials such as aluminium for the bonnet, doors and tailgate and a new type of carbon fibre polymer for the roof.

With a power-to-weight ratio of 156kW per tonne, the Yaris GR is said to be capable of a 5.2-second 0-100km/h sprint, while the top speed is electronically limited to 230km/h.

But only purists need apply as the only gearbox option is a six-speed manual with rev matching on the up and down shifts.

The driver can also choose how much of the car’s torque goes to the rear wheels. In Normal mode, 60 percent goes to the front and 40 percent to the back, but switch to Track mode and it becomes a 50:50 affair, while Sport mode will see 70 percent going to the back axle.

Toyota’s motorsport division has completely overhauled the suspension system too, replacing the standard Yaris’s torsion beam rear suspension system with a multi-link set-up with new upper arms and stiffer settings, while the MacPherson strut set-up at the front gets newly developed knuckles and stiffer bushes.

Given all the lightweight components as well as the advanced chassis and engine technologies present here, the Yaris GR is not going to come cheap, although final pricing and specifications will not be released until closer to launch.

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