A NEW and hotter Toyota GR Yaris has been unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon and the company says the newcomer is even more of a barnstormer.
Key elements include an evolution of the turbocharged three-cylinder engine to deliver more power and torque and the introduction of an eight-speed Gazoo Racing Direct Automatic Transmission, engineered for competition-fast gear changes.
The GR Yaris chassis has been further strengthened and in the cabin the cockpit layout and driving position have been redrawn for a more authentic sports car feel, whether on-road driving or in motorsports competition.
The suspension has also been adjusted for greater handling control and robust performance under high loads, with revised spring rates and a strengthened front shock absorber assembly.
The new GR Yaris will be available in a single version in all-wheel-drive Circuit specification, with a cooling performance pack that includes an additional radiator, intercooler spray and modified air intake.
Since the model's 2020 launch, more than 18,000 cars have been sold in Europe - the greatest number in the UK.
At launch the GR Yaris' turbocharged engine was the world's most powerful three-cylinder production unit and on the new model power has been increased by 19.7bhp to 276bhp and 390Nm of torque.
The introduction of a new eight-speed Gazoo Racing Direct Automatic Transmission is one of the most significant changes in the new GR Yaris and is available as an option to a six-speed manual gearbox.
A new drive mode selection function is available for both sports driving and everyday use, with Sport, Normal and Eco modes engaging different settings for the electric power steering, air conditioning operation, throttle response and the driver's instrument display.
On models equipped with the Gazoo Racing Direct Automatic Transmission, the gearshift feel and selection are also adjusted.
Significant changes have been made inside the GR Yaris to give the driver's cockpit more sporty feel with a "driver first" principle.
Controls that often need to be used in competition driving, such as intercooler spray, VSC-OFF and hazard lights have been moved closer to the driver so they can be reached quickly and easily when using a racing harness. On the passenger side, the tray in the instrument panel has been made larger so there is space for extra meters or a co-driver's monitor to be fitted.
The driver's field of vision from the wheel has been improved by changing dropping the top edge of the instrument panel by 50mm, changing the position of the rear-view mirror and angling the control panel 15 degrees further towards the driver.
The instrumentation includes a new 12.3-inch fully digital combimeter with two layout modes - normal and sport, the latter providing a sports performance-focused data display.
On the automatic model, the read-out includes transmission oil temperature and a visual warning in addition to a sound alarm to alert the driver when engine revs are too high for downshifting.
The driver's seat has been lowered by 25mm and steering wheel adjusted accordingly. The shift direction has been changed to suit competition driving so the driver pushes the lever forward for downshifts and pulls back for upshifts.
The GR Yaris remains a three-door car but only the rear light clusters, antenna and door mirrors are carried over from the standard hatchback. Every other element has been revised to achieve optimum downforces, aerodynamics and grip.
At the front of the car there is a new steel mesh for the lower grille, optimised for the best balance of thickness, strength and weight reduction. The side grille has a larger opening and lower bumper has a new split-construction that makes it easier and less costly to repair or replace.
At the rear, an opening in the bottom edge of the lower garnish allows air from beneath the floor to escape, reducing drag, improving the car's manoeuvrability and stability and dispersing heat from the exhaust system.
The fog and reversing lights have been moved from the lower bumper to be integrated in the rear combination lamps, reducing the risk of damage. Similarly, the high-mounted stop light as been moved from the rear spoiler to lower down on the back door so that all rear lamps are aligned and in a clear line of sight for following drivers. Moving the stop light also makes it easier for the spoiler to be changed or customised.
New equipment features include the latest-generation Toyota Safety Sense systems, navigation and a digital key. The automatic model will provide a higher specification with forged wheels, rear and side monitors and premium JBL sound system.
Toyota says it is to produce special editions of the new GR Yaris, named after two of its World Rally Championship star drivers - the Sebastien Ogier Special Edition and Kalle Rovanperä Special Edition which are based on concept models shown at the 2023 Tokyo Salon.
The new GR Yaris will be available in the UK and across Europe from summer 2024. Details of UK specifications and pricing will be announced at a later date.