Toyota GR Yaris review – engine, gearbox and technical highlights
The 1.6-litre triple is a little gem of an engine, and bespoke to the GR Yaris
The purpose-designed G16E-GTS three-cylinder engine displaces 1.6 litres and with the aid of a turbocharger produces 257bhp and 265lb ft of torque. Drive is taken through a six-speed manual transmission to the GR-Four chassis, which is Toyota’s name for a full-time four-wheel-drive set-up based around an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch. This same engine is now also available in the GR Corolla, but isn't marketed in the UK or Europe.
In theory 0 to 100 per cent of the torque can be sent to the front or the rear, but in reality there are three modes to choose from. Normal equates to a 60:40 torque split with a front bias, Sport flips that with a 30:70 split, and Track is 50:50.
There’s so much to say about the technical make-up of the GR Yaris, starting with its unique structure. Essentially, the GR Yaris is a combination of base Yaris structure up front (GA-B) and the slightly larger Corolla/C-HR (GA-C) at the rear. This wider rear track has allowed Toyota to design a totally bespoke rear suspension design with double-wishbones that both allow for the rear-axle drive shafts and the fitment of a rear locking differential. A double wishbone design also allowed engineers more freedom with the GR's camber and castor adjustments, fine tuning the setup exactly the way it wanted it. The front suspension still uses a relatively mundane MacPherson strut design, but the geometry is completely different to a basic Yaris.
Overall, this makes the GR Yaris body 90mm lower and 55mm wider than a standard Yaris, sharing only its front and rear lamps, and its door mirrors . Yes, it may be a small, three-door (hurrah!) hatchback, but the GR is a very special piece of kit designed specifically for the intended job. It's so specialised that the GR Yaris is built largely by hand in the same specialised facility within Toyota City in Japan that was preciously used in the construction of the Lexus LFA. Unfortunately, the LFA's spectacular three-dimensional carbon loom isn't used for the GR's construction, but it does feature a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic roof skin, plus the use of aluminium for the doors and bonnet.