The GRMN badge is back on a hot Yaris, but we’ll get the bad news out of the way first – Toyota has announced that it’ll build just 500 examples of this ‘fully-tuned’ version of the GR Yaris, and they’ll only be available in the Japanese market via a reservation lottery. Boo.
We really are disappointed it won’t make it to UK shores. The GR’s feisty little 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo hasn’t been touched, so it’s still making the 272hp that’s standard in Japan. However, Toyota says the GRMN has “gone through rigorous refinement with professional drivers” to get where it is today.
And lo, it is now a strict two-seater, with the removal of the rear bench saving a full 20kg. In its place is a chunky cross brace to improve rigidity, a mission also helped by 545 further spot welds and 12 extra metres of ‘structural adhesive’ (that’s on top of the standard GR’s 35.4 metres).
There are hardcore Recaro bucket seats up front too, plus a carbon fibre bonnet to match the roof and a 10mm wider track for better aero. New suspension means the GRMN is also 10mm lower than the GR.
There’s a new mechanical limited-slip diff and a strengthened gearbox with close-ratio 1st to 4th gears that Toyota says “makes efficient use of the engine power band”. Apparently it has been improved through “repeated breaking and fixing”. Nice.
And that’s not all, because like with the GR you can have additional option packs, although here your choices are a Circuit Package or the brilliant-sounding Rally Package.
Just 50 examples of the former will be sold and customers will only be able to spec that ‘Matte Steel’ exterior colour. The trackday-oriented pack also includes the carbon rear wing, a slightly spikier bodykit, bespoke BBS 18-inch wheels, 18-inch brakes and adjustable Bilstein shocks.
The Rally Package apparently takes learnings from the GR’s involvement in the All Japan Rally Championship, with new a Gazoo Racing suspension setup, underbody protection and a roll bar.
Toyota is also claiming that two new programmes have been developed to personalise each GRMN. One will see new parts and software updates constantly applied by GR engineers as they are released, whilst the other will see the same engineers analyse specific driver data before altering steering, engine and drive distribution software, or hardware such as the dampers and spring rates.
The reservation lottery opens today for those in Japan, with JPY prices for the GRMN starting at almost DOUBLE that of the 'regular' GR Yaris RZ.
TEXT Greg Potts