Hardcore Toyota GRMN Yaris debuts for the JDM market

Toyota’s Gazoo Racing hasn’t held back its ultimate GRMN Yaris model, but it’s limited to 500 units

The Toyota GRMN Yaris has officially debuted at the Tokyo Auto Salon, an ultimate incarnation of one of our favourite performance cars on sale. The standard GR Yaris is already a thrilling example of bespoke engineering, but for the new GRMN, Gazoo Racing has taken things much further, not so much in respect to its figures, but its nuanced approach to getting the most out of its already fabulous package. 

Limited to just 500 units specifically for the Japanese market, Toyota is forecasting that the model will be vastly over-subscribed and is therefore holding a ballot process for build slots. There will be a standard GRMN and an optional Circuit Pack model as before, with another Rally Pack option that’ll be available as a dealer fitted option.

> Toyota Yaris GRMN review

Gazoo Racing’s upgrades start with the structure itself, which like all GR Yarises is built in a different production facility to lesser models, but undergoes additional strengthening from the addition of extra adhesive to various critical stress points and no less than an extra 545 spot welds. This doesn’t just increase rigidity, but also resilience under load for little in the way of additional weight.

There’s also a new rear strut-brace connecting the two rear suspension towers and the bonnet is now made from carbonfibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), as the roof is on all GR Yaris’. The result is a 20kg reduction in weight overall despite the chassis reinforcement, something also helped by the stripped-out interior, removal of the rear seats and new fixed-back Recaro bucket seats. The infotainment system has also been deleted wholesale from the dash, while the dial pack has been subtly redesigned and details like a coloured gear knob and Alcantara steering wheel added.

The engine is the same G16E-GTS turbocharged 1.6-litre three-cylinder as the base GR Yaris, and while it shares an identical 262bhp power figure, torque is up 22lb ft to 287lb ft at just over 3000rpm. A six-speed manual transmission is still the sole transmission option, but Gazoo Racing has shortened the ratios even further and given it a shorter final drive ratio. The Torsen differentials on both axles have also been replaced with mechanical limited-slip differentials, and there’s a higher-specification GR clutch in there too. 

Toyota GRMN Yaris Circuit Pack

The suspension setup has been overhauled across all three models, but differs depending on the chosen package. All see a 10mm drop in ride height, but the Circuit Pack adds in a set of Bilstein coilovers with mechanically-adjustable dampers. It also ups the brake package and swaps out the standard 18-inch wheel for a forged BBS design, and there’s a CFRP rear wing on swan-neck mounts, a splitter and side skirts. 

Toyota GRMN Yaris Rally Pack

The Rally Pack goes in the other direction with different GR dampers and stabiliser linkages. They also use the same diamond-cut wheel design as the base GRMN, and include added underbody protection and an internal roll-cage with side-protection bars. 

Pricing and availability

Three of the GR Yaris’s base colours are still available, sans the non-metallic white, with a new Matte Steel finish that’ll be limited to just 50 units. Prices for the GRMN Yaris in the local market start at today’s exchange rates at £46,784 for the base car, rising to £53,573 for the Rally Package and £54,138 for the Circuit Package. These prices put them at an over 50 percent price increase over a standard GR Yaris in the Japanese market, prices that we suspect won’t deter sales one bit. Unfortunately, there are no plans to offer the GRMN outside of Japan, and while private importers will attempt to get hold of them, the balloting process might make this difficult, with companies like Litchfield already confirming it's unlikely to get hold of any for the UK. Toyota UK has been approached in regards to the official import of parts, however, which we understand is under discussion. 

As Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda announced upon the formation of the Gazoo Racing road car division, the GRMN moniker applies to Gazoo Racing’s most dynamically focused models, with GR models sitting below (as with the current Yaris and GR Supra) with GR Sport models operating as little more than a trim level. While we’ve had to wait to see the GRMN badge return since it debuted on the unusual supercharged Yaris GRMN of 2016, it bodes well for future models of the current GR range that could see their own GRMN transformation.

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